José A. Fajardo will step down as president and GM of Hawai‘i Public Radio in Honolulu July 31, the station announced Tuesday.
Fajardo is stepping down because he has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, according to a press release. He was diagnosed with the disease in 2021.
“I’ve been fortunate to have enjoyed a four-decade career in radio, my dream job since I was 8 years old,” Fajardo said in a press release. “Along the way, I’ve been privileged to serve in varied and progressively challenging roles. Without question, my role at HPR, and working alongside such a passionate and talented team, has been the most fulfilling. With a strong team and steadfast community financial support, the community can look forward to the sustained excellence and integrity of this service and to its continued development and growth.”
HPR hired Fajardo in 2016. During his tenure, the station completed a buildout of statewide transmitters and added positions. The station is debt-free and maintains $4 million in reserves and a $7 million endowment fund, according to the release.
“José’s passion for public radio; his deep experience and expertise; his strategic mind; his dedication to the development of the HPR staff and an environment of caring, teamwork and commitment to community, have elevated the caliber of HPR’s services,” Kathryn Matayoshi, HPR board chair, said in the release. “He has shaped HPR into the ‘go-to’ place for trusted news; expanded coverage of local news, stories and culture; and music that soothes and intrigues. José has put his heart and soul into HPR. His many contributions as a wonderful leader and human being are and will be enjoyed by HPR listeners today—and into the future.”
Prior to joining HPR, Fajardo worked at WMFE in Orlando as CEO. He got his start in public broadcasting at KNCT in Killeen, Texas. During his public broadcasting career, he has served on the boards of NPR and America’s Public Television Stations. In 2022, he received the Public Radio Regional Organizations’ PRRO Award.
He reflected on his broadcasting career in a 2022 Current profile. “The harder you work, the luckier you get,” he said.
Fajardo and his wife will post updates on his personal blog.