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Business // Roundtable
MidWeek Staff

50 Years Of Japanese Radio

By Robyn Furuya
Owner and Executive Vice President of KZOO Radio

In 2013, KZOO Radio, licensed under Polynesian Broadcasting Inc., will celebrate 50 years of serving Hawaii. Purchased in 1967 by my father-in-law, the late Noboru Furuya, KZOO has been the only Japanese-language radio station broadcasting continuously, 24 hours a day, providing music, news and information to Hawaii for five decades.

My husband, David Furuya, KZOO president, and I have been actively involved with the station’s daily operations for more than 16 years. Like my father-in-law, we have continued to run the station as a family, with all of our employees important and valued members. We feel this philosophy, and our very loyal audience has been key to our continued success, and why we have outlasted so many competitors over the years.

Our mission has always been to serve the Japanese-speaking community with talk, music and extensive coverage of local, national and international news, as well as “live” programs from Japan, and we have expanded our reach to a wider demographic in recent years.

KZOO also is the official designated Hawaii State Civil Defense station for Japanese speakers. During emergencies, Japanese locals and visitors can tune in for the latest information in Japanese. This brings tremendous peace of mind to these audiences. Last September, we opened the KZOO Radio Shirokiya Studio at Ala Moana Center. Our offices and main studio remain at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii. However, Shirokiya Studio allows for a much more interactive way to reach our audience, as well as build new audiences.

Shirokiya Studio is equipped with Web cams for live streaming, TV monitors, and a “step-and-repeat” for sponsor logos. The high-traffic location sees tens of thousands of passersby each week. People are surprised when they see everyone from the governor and mayor to Kikaida, local entertainers and Japanese celebrities in our studio. KZOO Radio was an official sponsor of this year’s Na Hoku Hanohano Awards and welcomes all Hawaii entertainers to contact us to perform at Shirokiya Studio. We have already featured many Hoku winners and taped segments for airing in Japan. If you’re interested in performing, please visit kzooradio.com. KZOO Radio airs statewide on AM1210, Oceanic Channel 888, and worldwide on kzooradio.com. We also air on many of Japan’s top radio stations in Tokyo, Kansai, Fukuoka, Sapporo, Okinawa and other regions throughout Japan.

At KZOO, we continue to honor the past, while looking toward the future.

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