In a time where information seems to be always free flowing via the internet, some millennials might have forgotten one of the most popular forms of information, post-newsprint and pre-television: news radio. No, it doesn’t only live on the scratchy AM channels hidden between the talk of baseball and emergency alerts, but among FM stations are two stations called Hawaii Public Radio-1 and 2. These are independent stations that are funded publicly, that purchase programs from its affiliate National Public Radio as well as American Public Media, Public Radio International and other small producers. They pay a monthly fee in order to play programs of NPR like Morning Edition and All Things Considered. To pay for these programs which can be as much at $888 a day, HPR receives 93 percent of its funding from listeners right here in Hawaii and about 74 percent of their resources go to creating their own content.
HPR and NPR are not just politics and world news these days. While these are important aspects of being informed and of HPR, it also intertwines a diverse group of programs that are sure to interest anyone, if caught at the right time. HPR produces four of its own programs. Town Square is one of the oldest of Hawaii Public Radio’s public affairs programs. It started in 1999, and since has provided to be an excellent way for those in and out of Hawaii to be immersed in political, social, educational and cultural issues of local, national and international importance.
The Conversation highlights topics from public affairs, ideas, culture and art. Hosted by Beth-Ann Kozlovich and Chris Vandercook, this program tells us what is going on in all the islands, “the whole point is to get away from Oahu-centric stories and talk about our state as one state with many faces, facets and interests.” It also features the Backyard Quiz, which quizzes listeners are various facts about the island. Winners receive an HPR T-shirt and it’s a great way to utilize you Hawaiian knowledge or you can submit your own quiz! The Body Show hosted by Dr. Kathleen Kozak allows a for free-flow of health and medical information as listeners are encouraged to call in with their own questions and concerns about a weekly topic. Last is Bytemarks Café, played on Wednesday’s from 5pm to 6pm and hosted by the “geeks in residence” Burt Lum and Ryan Ozawa. This is a radio “magazine” that highlights technology and innovations in Hawaii. Listeners are encouraged to create a two-way conversation by calling, emailing or posting to the hosts.
HPR always makes sure that you can listen to some of NPR’s most popular shows as well. Science Friday, with Ira Flatow as host, features guests and stories of science that can intrigue anyone who is curious about the world around them. Science Friday has even been featured in The Big Bang Theory, with fictional world-renowned scientist Sheldon Cooper as a guest on the show multiple times. This past week, Flatow explored El Niño, hacker’s stealing and ransoming a California hospital’s data files and Silicon Valley’s diversity gap. Listen in on Friday’s from 9am to 10pm on HPR-2.
If you’re a socialite, hosting parties for big groups, or even just your cat, check out The Dinner Party Download with hosts Rico Gagliano and Brendan Francis Newnam. They talk about food and culture as they discuss ways to “dazzle your friends at this weekend’s get-together” on Saturday’s from 3pm to 4pm on HPR-2.
Of all programs that HPR pays for, I think the one that has the most diversity and scope is “All Things Considered.” The biggest stories around the country and world are aired and discussed on this program by Audie Cornish, Kelly McEvers, Ari Shapiro, and Robert Siegel. Whether it be Ari Shapiro reporting in from a war-zone or Audie Cornish interviewing rapper Macklemore, All Things Considered will leave you feeling as though you got the whole story that CNN and E! News just can’t compete with.
While news seems to be popping up in our Facebook feeds and Reddit subscriptions, it can be easy to feel apathetic about the world around us, that feeling that you “got the jist” even if it’s just a headline. HPR and it’s programs seduce you with their interviews of Matt Damon on the film The Martian but keep you listening when hosts talk about the crisis in Syria all in the same hour. In our generation, it’s cool to care about the issues and be informed especially by a program that is publicly funded, meaning they have little no bias. So next time you’re driving and you can’t listen to Bruno Mars for one more minute, try flipping to 90.7 HPR-1 or 89.7 HPR-2 and enjoy the stories that actually have something to say.
For a complete schedule of all of HPR’s programs please visit their website at hawaiipublicradio.org.