When radio station KKCR approached Kauaʻi Community College’s Joshua Fukino to put a hub station on the campus, Fukino saw an opportunity to get more Hawaiian language into the community.
The Hawaiian studies education support specialist worked with Instructor Pua Rossi-Fukino to develop a concept for a show that would include music along with campus and local news and discussion topics—all delivered in Hawaiian.
They proposed Kealaʻoli, a monthly show to be produced by Hawaiian studies faculty and students and aired on the non-profit, listener-supported community station. With the support of the campus administration, Fukino secured equipment and met with KCCR programmers to set up the radio hub.
Rossi-Fukino admits to a little apprehension. “We wondered if we could pull it off. However, Oʻahu and Hilo have popular Hawaiian language radio shows and I felt that Kauaʻi needed something,” she says. “There are Hawaiian language shows done in the Niʻihau style and half-Hawaiian, half-English shows, but nothing that’s completely for students and beginners in the language.”
Every show has a theme, usually based on a historical event. In February they commemorated the anniversary of the overthrow and British takeover in 1843, playing songs of national pride, aloha ʻāina (love of land) and sovereignty. March celebrated Prince Kūhiō’s birthday holiday and voyaging and the heavens, since several Kaua’i students were attending a voyaging workshop in Hilo.
“We choose songs based on our theme, and we do research on the song, singer or composer and the message behind the song,” says Rossi-Fukino, who helps with translation and hosts the show with student co-host Jocelyn “Luana” Slade.
Hawaiian club president and a department tutor, Slade has competed in a Hawaiian speech contest. “Doing the show has been one of my greatest experiences since going to college,” she says. It provides opportunities to practice speaking Hawaiian, see what’s going on in the Hawaiian community and learn more about the culture through old songs.
So far, only one student besides Slade has been brave enough to go on air, but Rossi-Fukino hopes current first-year students will be willing to co-host next year. “I love the fact that our students can participate. It shows them the Hawaiian language is still alive and thriving.”
They aren’t the only ones who benefit.
“When I was a Hawaiian language student at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, it was wonderful to be able to listen to Hawaiian language on-air. It took a lot of the pressure off to just listen and not have to respond. I hope that other students—present and future—of the language will tune in.”
The hour-long show airs every second and fourth Monday at noon. Listen to live streaming audio at the radio website.