Nimitz Highway

“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”
–Mister Rogers

Trolley: Thank you for being our neighbor!

Leslie Wilcox, President and CEO of PBS HawaiiYour team at PBS Hawai‘i took a cue from our favorite guy in a sweater, Mister Rogers, and invited scores of neighboring businesses to an open house. After a half-century in Manoa, we’re newbies in a new home across town at Nimitz Highway and Sand Island Access Road. We’re honored to occupy this building created by the people of Hawai‘i.

 

Staff members took individuals and groups on tours through our building, and there was time along the way to stop and get acquainted. “I watched your building going up,” said Curtis Sasaki of next-door office-supplies distributor Conrad Enterprises, a family business. “Thanks for having me over. I’m curious to see the inside, the TV part.” He told us about his own company’s move into the neighborhood, back in 1988, from Kakaako.

 

Our other next-door neighbor is Storage Castle, with the turret wall on Nimitz. The self storage company’s Richard Parry made a good point: “A lot of people think of residential communities when they think of neighbors. But when you think of how much time you spend at work, we need to think of fellow businesses as neighbors and support each other if we can.”

 

We felt terrific support even before we moved in, as the big dog in the ‘hood, Matson, contributed $50,000 to our NEW HOME Campaign.

 

Matson’s affable Gary Nakamatsu motioned to the windows facing Nimitz. “All those drivers go past this area on Nimitz Highway – they just drive right by and they don’t see the great variety of businesses here that do a lot for our state.”

 

Variety, indeed! The Sand Island business district is a crazy quilt of industry and industriousness. Construction companies, candy sales, landscapers, document-shredding, a bakery, garbage collection, balloons, restaurants, dry cleaning, a cement maker, musical instruments. And of course, the Coast Guard. Among organizations that came by to say hi and check out our open, cheerful new work space were Honolulu Disposal Service, McDonald’s, First Hawaiian Bank, New Hope Oahu, Office Pavilion, and a scrappy entrepreneur, Primo Popcorn, owned by the multi-generational Sato family. They’re fearless in translating new flavors to popcorn. Prime rib, end cut? You got it. Kim chee? No problem. Baked potato? Here you go.

 

Each establishment has a story. And of course, we love stories. Our mission is advancing learning and discovery, through multi-media storytelling.

 

We’re glad to add another dash of variety to the neighborhood mix. Thank you, Sand Island area businesses, for being our neighbors.

 

A hui hou kakou—until next time,
Leslie signature

 

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)
Leslie signature
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!

Leslie signature

 

INSIGHTS ON PBS HAWAI‘I
How Can We Best Help the Homeless?

 

Efforts to deal with Oahu’s homeless population, such as moving them out of parks
and off sidewalks, have only shifted them away from businesses, leading to more
sidewalk tents in Kaka‘ako and Kapalama. Now City Council members want the Mayor
to consider using the former Hilo Hattie site on Nimitz Highway as a homeless shelter.
What could the State and counties do to help? How can we best help the homeless?

 

INSIGHTS ON PBS HAWAI‘I is a live public affairs show that is also live streamed on PBSHawaii.org. Your questions and comments are welcome via phone, email, Twitter or live blogging. You may also email your questions ahead of time toinsights@pbshawaii.org.

 

Your questions and comments are welcome via phone, email and via Twitter during the Live Broadcast.

 

Phone Lines:
973-1000 on Oahu or 800-238-4847 on the Neighbor Islands.

 

Email:
insights@pbshawaii.org

 

Twitter:
Join our live discussion using #pbsinsights