Fred Barbaria: KTUH founder and fan

July 14th, 2010  |  by  |  Published in People  |  3 Comments

Fred Barbaria in front of a large scale printer outputting KTUH graphics

UH degree: BFA in visual design ’71 Mānoa
Family: Married 28 years to Cheryl, father to three grown sons Michael, Jason and Anthony
Career: Sign company founder and president
Recent honors: Named to Board of Directors of the International Sign Association
College accomplishment: Helped establish Mānoa student-run radio station KTUH
Hobbies: Photography, hiking

“It took 28 years but I finally got to use my degree,” says Fred Barbaria with a laugh. From engineering to art to business, Barbaria’s unique talents have lead him on a career path that’s included stints in broadcasting, electronics manufacturing and sales.

Founder and president of Santa Barbara Signs and Graphics, Barbaria put his BFA (and subsequent business studies) to work producing large format signage for trade shows and retail establishments.

KTUH retrospective poster

Poster from the KTUH retrospective show

The business is a family affair, with his wife Cheryl handling the books and son Jason on board as director of sales and marketing. His advice for mixing family and business? “It’s okay to work together but you don’t want to do it 24/7, so as much as possible, don’t talk shop outside of work.”

One constant over the years has been his fondness for the campus radio station he helped found, KTUH 90.3 FM. His company recently donated several thousand dollars of printing services for KTUH’s 40th anniversary station retrospective show at Hamilton Library’s Bridge Gallery.

Photographs, memorabilia and program guides—now archived online—brought back memories of that pivotal, free-wheeling time in local radio.

“We didn’t have that much equipment and what we had wasn’t that good, but we made do,” recalls Barbaria. His earliest duties included physically mounting the station’s antennas and five years of service as general manager at the station.

Barbaria is also spear-heading a KTUH gathering on Oʻahu for 2011. Former DJs and station workers are invited to contact him directly for more information, email

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  1. Maris Somerville says:

    July 23rd, 2010at 6:48 am(#)

    How cool to read about Mr. Barbaria’s founding of KTUH Radio. I loved my time as a classical music commentator at the station in the early 1970s. It gave me a terrific foundation for broadcast (Communications) in which I majored at UH.

  2. Dina Brown Chuensanguansat says:

    July 26th, 2010at 3:15 pm(#)

    I was a KTUH Disk Jockey starting when KTUH aired campus wide only. Eventually, I had two different shows. One was called Music of the World’s People and this show was the first to be heard when KTUH went on air beyond the campus and Mayor Frank Fasi came to the station for this occasion. The other show I did with Wesley Furumoto. It was called, Pakalolo Patch. It was a live show featuring most of the local folk and Hawaiian musicians around at that time. It was housed in a fantasy that we were broadcasting from the last undiscovered valley on Oahu, and every Tuesday, (if I remember correctly) musicians would drop by to visit and jam. This was a very popular show and lasted until I went to the mainland for more graduate studies. I don’t remember if Richard was still around at that time, but I do remember Richard being a tough professional station manager, but very supportive of our endeavors.

  3. Randy Wagner says:

    October 13th, 2011at 10:09 am(#)

    I just found this announcement of the KTUH alumni reunion and I am sorry I missed it. Being a jock on KTUH was a life changing experience for me back in 1973-75. I still see and party with Dave Dugle who had the Insanity Palace Show that was a hours of segued comedy! I was there when the first translater went up for the north shore and tripled our listening audience. We had a blast! The concerts we put on in Andrews to raise money for the translaters (Sprirt, Leo Koetke, The Jazz Crusaders, and this new band that nobody had heard of Journey) all were great nights to remember. You are cruising with the flagship of progressive rock and roll–KTUH FM in Honolulu