Sand Island

Raising the Bar – The Best Way to Express Our Gratitude

Viewer thank you note

Leslie Wilcox, President and CEO of PBS HawaiiMy job is essentially to be a problem-solver. There’s certainly enough to reach for, as the fragmented worlds of media and education require more focus, more engagement, more depth, more context. And in this rapidly changing world, answers are a moving target.

 

But that’s not the toughest part of my job. As in other things in life, the simplest things can be the most difficult. And quite simply, it is very difficult to adequately express thanks.

 

Our unpaid Board of Directors and lean staff could spend most of the day writing thank-you letters or making calls – and it simply wouldn’t be enough to express the gratitude we feel here for what citizens are supporting.

 

After we lost our lease at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, the people of Hawai‘i and several mainland-based charitable foundations with ties to Hawaii gave us more than $30 million to establish a modern stand-alone multimedia center on Nimitz Highway at the entrance to Sand Island, PBS Hawai‘i’s Clarence T.C. Ching Campus. This nonprofit now owns an acre of land and a two-story building, which (thankfully) came in on time and on budget.

 

And still, after building us a new house, some viewers thank us. Here’s an example, from a woman who wrote by hand: “I hope you don’t get tired of my thank-you notes but I gotta say how much it means to me to watch [PBS Hawai‘i].” Here’s another hand-written note: “PBS Hawai‘i is contributing to society. I want PBS to continue this way. That’s why I make my donation.”

 

See what I mean? With a heart full of gratitude, I want you to know that we are dedicated to making the most out of your gift of a new building and your support of programming. We want to raise the bar on our stories and in quality in all areas, including our events for adults and keiki. We want to “be there” for our state – all of it, not just metropolitan Oahu. We want to be trusted for fairness and accuracy. And when we make mistakes, we want to own up and do better. Maybe that’s the best way to convey our thanks.

 

Also, we’re offering all the thousands of building donors a guided tour of the television station. Next month, after we complete technical troubleshooting, install a photovoltaic energy system and add donor signage, we’ll have an opening ceremony. But because of space concerns, we can’t invite all who made the building possible. So we invite NEW HOME donors to arrange a personal tour, now or later, by calling Christina Sumida at (808) 462-5045. Quite simply, we’d like to thank you in person.

 

Mahalo piha,
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Full of Memories and Full of Thanks

Leslie Wilcox, President and CEO of PBS Hawai‘iAs you read this, the PBS Hawai‘i staff will have re-assembled across town in our new home for storytelling and community building, a beautiful work environment created and built by the support of our fellow Islanders.

 

It’s a cheerful place that promotes transparency – there are no cubicles, just open space with desk groupings and a lot of glass walls. It’s designed, by architect Sheryl Seaman of Group 70 International, for teamwork and collaboration.

 

One immediate favorite spot is nicknamed Team Space – it’s a long farm table where staffers can get together for lunch breaks or have work discussions, using a “writable” wall.

 

To get to this open environment, we had to pack up our longtime rented home on the campus of the University of Hawaii at Manoa. It was easy deciding which technology and office equipment to take. What “got” to us is the dilemma that faces almost everyone who moves: What do you do with stacks of memorabilia that are a nod to precious times and achievements?

 

First, our storehouses of past decades of programming, with people and places of a Hawaii gone by, held in outdated media formats: Chris Lee and Heather Giugni, co-founders of ‘Ulu‘ulu: The Henry Ku‘ualoha Giugni Archive, settled that for us by welcoming our material. They’ll do their magic to make programs accessible to online viewers and researchers.

 

Second, the trophies, accolades, and photographs from over 50 years of public television in Hawai‘i: We had a display cabinet of trophies and ceremonial gifts, and walls with framed acknowledgements. And there were plaques and certificates tucked away elsewhere – just too many congratulatory items, over the five decades, to showcase. We decided to create a pictorial and written record of all of them to take with us. A number were selected to be part of our new streamlined environment.

 

And so here we are, full of memories and full of thanks.

 

Our staff serves with the knowledge that we stand on the shoulders of excellent professionals and many caring, akamai citizens who’ve come before us. We intend to carry that same torch of education in this collaborative new space, upholding PBS Hawai‘i as a community connector that reaches into homes and hearts with authentic storytelling that touches, and even changes, lives.

 

As Board Chair Robbie Alm says, “I am very excited at all the opportunities the new building represents and I will also carry the spirit of our Dole Street (Manoa) building with me always.”

 

I mua! (Moving forward)
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Full of Memories and Full of Thanks

 

Here Goes! We’re in the Process of Moving

 

PBS Hawaii. Moving boxes.

Sticky notes and forms indicate which files will be going with us to our new location on Nimitz Highway and Sand Island Access Road.

 

Leslie Wilcox, President and CEO of PBS HawaiiPBS Hawai‘i staffers have heard this four-word question many times: “Have you moved yet?”

 

It’s certainly pertinent, after more than a year of updates on our new building under construction across town and the latest fundraising numbers.

 

Until last month, the answer was: No, not yet.

 

Now, as you read this, the answer is: Here goes! We’re in the process of moving.

 

It isn’t happening in a day. The start of the exodus from the University of Hawai‘i Manoa campus was last month. The new technology being assembled is awesome, including a new undersea-overland fiber link to New York to access diverse national and international programming. But it’s people who make things happen. If all goes well, on May 2, our dedicated employees and students will find themselves in a beautiful new home for education and media-making at the corner of Nimitz Highway and Sand Island Access Road.

 

We hope and plan to sustain uninterrupted broadcasting throughout the move. Our “flash-cut” to a new broadcast operating system is scheduled for the middle of this month. At this time, we’re getting up to speed with new technology, operating in what Chief Engineer John Nakahira calls a “shadow state” of parallel broadcasting.

 

As I understand it, our current landlord, the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, is turning over the space we occupy to the university’s Academy for Creative Media. We’re pleased that the academy will gain a gem of a TV/multimedia studio, large and well-designed. It survived a 2011 fire and is imbued with the memories of prominent people, dramas, and live music that often moved the soul.

 

At the Nimitz home, a new large studio awaits us, as well as two smaller studios. It is our fond and fervent hope that this new home will blossom with illuminating and interactive new local programming, raising the bar in a fine tradition of Hawai‘i storytelling.

 

The final live telecast from the PBS Hawai‘i Manoa studio takes place on Thursday, April 14  our weekly live, call-in public affairs show, Insights on PBS Hawai‘i. Next time you view Insights, on May 5, it’ll be coming to you from Nimitz Highway.

 

With our Board of Directors, led by Robbie Alm, I can’t speak of our new building without thinking of you and thanking you. The people of Hawai‘i Nei built this new home for education through multimedia storytelling.

 

You had faith in a locally owned, locally run nonprofit enterprise that uses technology and touch to serve our fellow citizens of all ages with rich programming.

 

Mahalo piha. Here goes!

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