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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Saturday, May 10, 2003

Church, cable station end ties

By Mary Kaye Ritz
Advertiser Religion & Ethics Writer

After several hours of test patterns yesterday afternoon, KALO channel 38 was expected to return to the air today with a significant change: No more New Hope Christian Fellowship programs.

Less than five months after KALO took over the cable slot formerly occupied by HGTV, the station and the 10,000-member church dissolved a partnership in which KALO broadcast New Hope's services and other church programming.

KALO will continue as a Christian station, however.

Elwin Ahu, New Hope O'ahu's executive pastor, said representatives from the church and the station met for two hours Thursday. When differences over programming couldn't be resolved, the decision was made to end the relationship.

Chris Racine, chairman of the board that holds the license for the nonprofit station, said KALO will continue in the same genre as it was under New Hope but would open the airwaves to other Christian ministers.

After absorbing monthly costs of $30,000 to $40,000 himself to run the station, Racine was told by New Hope that they wanted more messages by its pastor, Wayne Cordeiro, and not by other preachers, he said.

"It needs to be inclusive, not exclusive," said Racine, adding that a program by African American Christian minister Tony Evans was yanked by the church on Easter Sunday.

Ahu said the church resisted the move to include other ministers because "we want to present what we felt would reach the people here."

Messages from other evangelical leaders could be found elsewhere on the TV dial, he said.

At the meeting between the station and church officials, Ahu said, Racine made the comment that " 'It's all about Wayne.' He's misconstruing. That's not what we're saying."

Instead of other pastors, the church had suggested broadcasting reruns of "The Beverly Hillbillies," "Bonanza" and "You Bet Your Life," among other programs, said Racine, who had owned two other Christian stations in Honolulu before selling them to Trinity and Daystar, respectively.

With the return of station control to Racine, other Christian ministers in Hawai'i will have a chance to preach their messages.

Racine is inviting them to tape four- to five-minute segments to air throughout the day, including messages from other denominations.

"God doesn't require us to be successful, he requires us to be faithful," Racine said. "The little church in Makaha is following the Lord just as much as a large church in Nu'uanu. We'll be looking to create programs that explore ways to break down denominational walls."

He said the door remains open to New Hope to show its services on the station.

"I don't think it's reasonable to commit 35 (percent) to 45 percent of our airtime to one church," he said. "I want to be able to reach out to all (sorts of) different churches. I want to create some dialogue between churches."

Ahu said he has no quarrels with Racine.

"There's nothing wrong with what his philosophy is," Ahu said. "If that's what he wants to do with the station, that's what he can do. We have a different philosophy, and a different audience."

Racine said KALO was forced to show the "color bars" for hours yesterday afternoon because New Hope refused to allow the station to run its programming during the transition.

"Our position was, if he was going to take the station back, then he should take it back," Ahu said. "If he was going to take the station back, why should we be running it for him while he's taking it back?"

"They wanted total control," Racine said. "I don't know how to do that short of giving them a station."

Ahu said the broadcasts of church services will continue to be shown at 10 p.m. Saturdays on Oceanic channel 16.

Reach Mary Kaye Ritz at mritz@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8035.