Hawaiʻi Public Radio announces the acquisition of a new transmitter located on Lanaʻi, which will provide an improved signal for West Maui, Lanaʻi, and Molokaʻi. The frequency 103.1 FM, licensed to Kualapuʻu, Molokaʻi, will broadcast HPR-1 (news, talk, entertainment, and a variety of music) to areas previously within a coverage "shadow," wherein the West Maui mountains obstructed the signal broadcast from Haleakalā.
The signal has been assigned the call letters KJHF in honor of Dr. John Henry Felix, who was HPR's inaugural chair of the Board of Directors from 1979-1985.
In 1976, a group of community volunteers determined to bring the then-new NPR news service to Hawai‘i took the first steps to establishing a local affiliate. The group sought to involve business and cultural leaders, and asked John Henry Felix to serve as the inaugural chair, a position he held from 1979 to 1985. During his tenure he hired the station’s first general manager, Cliff Eblen, saw the station established in temporary quarters in the UH Quarry, and on one occasion, personally helped to make payroll.
Felix is currently Executive Chair, COO and CFO-Treasurer of Hawaii Medical Assurance Association. He has many other accomplishments to his name; he served as chief of staff for William F. Quinn, Hawai‘i's first State governor, was Honolulu city councilman from 1987-2001 during which he introduced Hawai‘i's first ban on smoking in public places, and is currently a board member for HART (Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation). HPR's Founder's Circle is also named in his honor.
The announcement was made at HPR's offices Thursday morning, accompanied by a proclamation from Governor David Ige and Lieutenant Governor Josh Green declaring November 14 as "John Henry Felix Day."
"We’re grateful to Dr. Felix for his vision and leadership, and for having the business acumen and persistence necessary to realize the dream of an independent, public radio service for the islands," said José A. Fajardo, the station’s president and general manager. "We're proud that John Henry Felix continues to be a daily listener and an active supporter with a keen interest in the station’s progress and welfare."
This expansion is made possible thanks to the support and generosity of station members, underwriters, and other local organizations providing financial support to HPR. The vast majority of HPR's operating revenue comes from the community; only 6% of the budget is received from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the organization that disburses federal funds.
HPR will go live with the new frequency in the coming months, pending installation of updated equipment at the site.