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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, September 12, 2001

America's bloodiest day
Disaster dominates TV airwaves

Advertiser Staff

All four of Hawai'i's network affiliate TV stations threw out the programming handbook in the early hours yesterday morning and don't expect to be back to a complete schedule of regular programming today.

News reports were the sole fare on KITV, KHNL, KHON and KGMB, and much of the programming was commercial-free. All went live with network feeds: KHNL (NBC) and KGMB (CBS) at around 3 a.m., and KITV (ABC) and KHON (Fox) from 4 a.m. In addition, KGMB's Jade Moon, KITV's Dan Cooke and KHNL's Howard Dashefsky broke in during the day to introduce local reports from sites including Honolulu International Airport, military bases, the blood bank and an empty Ala Moana Shopping Center.

Depending on developments, KHNL manager John Fink said Channel 8 might carry the "Today" show live (from 1 a.m. Hawai'i Standard Time) instead of tape-delayed this morning. KHNL simulcast its NBC news programming on sister station KFVE all day yesterday.

CBS affiliate KGMB fed its programming to KHET, Hawai'i Public Television, most of the day yesterday, an effort to reach remote sections of the state.

"I am quite sure you're not going to see commercial programs for two days," said Mike Rosenberg, manager of KITV, the ABC affiliate. "This is a story we need to cover with full force for the next few days, even weeks."

Bill Spellman, general manager of KHON, said they'll continue wall-to-wall coverage with no commercials as long as is justified.

Local radio followed TV's lead. Talk radio cancelled programming, including advertising, in some cases. KCCN 1420, known for sports reporting, aired CNN instead of ESPN; Hawaii Public Radio turned its air over to National Public Radio at 4:45 a.m., interrupting the national feed briefly for local reports.

No. 1 morning show hosts Perry and Price on KSSK stayed on the air an additional hour, alternating between news updates and discussion with their "posse." They ended their show with the national anthem.

Even music-heavy stations, such as I-94, KPOI, Island Rhythm 98.5, Da Bomb and others known for their comedic morning crews, turned down the laughs and reduced music play.

Calls ranged from the emotional to the technical (how the attacks could have happened) to what Hawaiian Ryan called a "surreal" level of self-absorption (callers who complained about the cancellation of sports events, about traffic and about stores being closed).

Advertiser staff writers Adrienne Ancheta, Wayne Harada and Derek Paiva contributed to this report.