You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby

Hawai‘i Public Radio celebrates 25 years.

After several years of unsuccessful startup attempts, Hawai‘i Public Radio (HPR) first hit airwaves on Nov. 13, 1981. Its home was a makeshift studio located in the Varsity Building on the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa campus, the walls of which general manager Cliff Eblen and program director Bob Miller covered in donated egg cartons to serve as acoustic treatment. “Many of us are astonished [public radio] has lasted this long,” says Michael Titterton, the current HPR president and general manager. “It was something fueled by youthful idealism, and had a real need for energetic young people to do something no one else seemed to be doing, which was to provide a broadcast service of some usefulness.”

Lake Wobegon comes to Honolulu this month. photo: courtesy of Hawai‘i Public Radio

In 1987, the HPR studio moved to its current location on Kaheka Street. Today, there are two program streams with dozens of shows airing daily on KHPR, KKUA, based in Wailuku, and KANO, out of Hilo. “We never expected to become the premier journalistic enterprise in the U.S. and the cultural repository we are,” says Titterton. “But here we are providing an important public service.”

To celebrate reaching the quarter-of-a-century mark, HPR is hosting A Prairie Home Companion, with Garrison Keillor, at the Blaisdell Concert Hall on Nov. 11 at 7:30 p.m. For information, call 591-2211, or visit