Founding father of Hawaii pubradio dies at 86

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The first general manager of Hawaii Public Radio, Cliff Elben, died Dec. 11 in Honolulu. He was 86.

Eblen arrived in Hawaii in January 1966 as program manager for ETV, Hawaii’s first public television station, which launched that April. That ultimately became KHET-TV, now PBS Hawaii. Eblen and ETV colleague Bob Miller often discussed Hawaii’s need for a pubradio station, so Elben quit KHET-TV in 1980 to give that a go. KHPR-FM, with a startup budget of $7,000, signed on in November 1981.

Eblen also was active with Hawaii theater groups and played a recurring role as an FBI agent in early episodes of the original Hawaii Five-0.

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