PBS Hawaii takes over commercial newscast ad breaks for ‘out of the box’ promos

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Viewers of Hawaii News Now, a 10 p.m. weeknight commercial newscast, will hear from their local public television station during all three advertising breaks Tuesday.

PBS Hawaii is using the two-minute spots on the joint newscast on Honolulu’s KHNL and KGMB — valued at a total of $30,000 — to highlight local and educational programs and seek contributions toward its capital campaign for a new building. The stations also will carry a PBS Hawaii public service announcement for the next three months.

The opportunity “is an out-of-the-box, community-minded gift,” said PBS Hawaii President Leslie Wilcox in an announcement.

PBS Hawaii staff, board members and production students take part in a groundbreaking ceremony for the station’s new headquarters Nov. 10. From left: Neil Hannahs, former PBS Hawaii board chair; Robbie Alm, station board chair; Leslie Wilcox, station president; Victoria Cuba, graduate of Hiki No, the station’s student media project; Cameron Nekota, station board facilities chair; Sheryl Seaman, architect; and Justin Izumi, Allied Builders System, contractor. (Photo: PBS Hawaii)

PBS Hawaii staff, board members and production students take part in a groundbreaking ceremony for the station’s new headquarters Nov. 10. From left: Neil Hannahs, former PBS Hawaii board chair; Robbie Alm, station board chair; Leslie Wilcox, station president; Victoria Cuba, graduate of Hiki No, the station’s student media project; Cameron Nekota, station board facilities chair; Sheryl Seaman, architect; and Justin Izumi, Allied Builders System, contractor. (Photo: PBS Hawaii)

Wilcox said in an interview that the PBS member station has previously purchased advertising on the Raycom Media–owned stations. KHNL, an NBC affiliate, and KGMB, CBS, share a newsroom and partner on Hawaii News Now.

“They know we’re working on a capital campaign, and they asked us how they could help,” Wilcox said. Reps from both stations brainstormed and came up with ideas including a simulcast pledge program. The newscast sponsorship takeover won out. Once that was decided, Wilcox said, Hawaii News Now G.M. Rick Blangiardi suggested the additional PSA.

PBS Hawaii’s new building is already under construction, Wilcox said. “We want to pay for it before it’s finished,” she said. “The first six months of this year we are pressing hard on this campaign. We’re using these spots to bring it to the top of donors’ minds.”

The station, seeking $30 million for the project, has already raised $23.7 million. Major contributions include $5 million from the local Clarence T.C. Ching Foundation, the philanthropy of a late real estate developer; $6.5 million from the state; and $500,000 from the Zilber Family Foundation, a Milwaukee-based charity whose patriarch, Joseph Zilber, spent his later years in his Hawaii home. The Atherton Family Foundation in Honolulu also contributed $200,000.

PBS Hawaii has worked out of the same headquarters since 1972, Wilcox said. The new building should be completed early in 2016.