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Neal Conan: A Letter of Appreciation From Hawaiʻi Public Radio

Neal Conan and Bill Dorman HPR Fundraising Drive
Hawaiʻi Public Radio
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Hawaiʻi Public Radio News Director Bill Dorman and Neal Conan live on-air during a fundraising drive.

Neal Conan, who spent 36 years with National Public Radio and several years as a Hawaiʻi Public Radio contributor on the "Pacific News Minute," died Tuesday in Hawaiʻi at the age of 71.

A letter from Hawaiʻi Public Radio News Director Bill Dorman:

"Hawaiʻi Public Radio lost a good friend this week.

We were lucky to have Neal Conan as part of our news team for a few years; not only for his on-air skills but also for his appreciation of what public radio can mean to the community it serves.

You can read a lot more about Neal’s NPR career in this heart-felt tribute from his longtime friend and colleague Robert Siegel.

We didn’t have Neal for as many years at HPR, but we were fortunate to have him as part of our station ʻohana. He carried a passion for the importance of journalism — the crucial role of relevant news in a democracy — giving citizens the tools to make choices as part of a well-informed electorate. He treasured history as part of the context and understanding of current events.

Unassuming, humble, down-to-earth, witty, erudite — all descriptive phrases that fit Neal.

As all of you who listen to HPR are well aware, public radio staffers take part in periodic fund drives — and some “pitch” on the air — asking listeners to become members by providing financial support.

It was always fun to pitch with Neal — he would get a gleam in his eye and a lilt in his voice when talking about the virtues of public radio, a medium he loved and executed so well.

He believed in what he did and in the potential for an even greater reach. His work makes the rest of us want to do ours better.

Mahalo Neal, we’re fortunate and grateful that you chose to spend some time with us."

Neal Conan Fundraising drive
Hawaiʻi Public Radio
On the left in a blue hat, Neal Conan partakes in a Hawaiʻi Public Radio fundraising drive.

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