IMR: 1998: March: 07 -- Saturday, 11:02 p.m.
Our Apartment, Makiki, Hawai`i
We went out tonight to help mom videotape Mr. Higaki and several KHS band kids at the Honolulu District music festival. Sad but true, until Katie's old enough to sit through a Broadway musical or opera, high school bands will probably be the extent of our art patronage.

The kids were pretty good. For some reason, pieces from "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" are still hot in school band circles. I guess I shouldn't complain, though... no doubt by this time next year, everyone will be playing "Titanic."

Mr. Higaki -- not surprisingly -- used a booming Alfred Reed piece for his directoral entry. Practically shocked Katie out of her skin, but fortunately, she behaved most of the night.

We actually went to the concert by way of Mililani, to do a load of laundry and pick up one of our family's two $1,500 vacuum cleaners for the apartment.

Mom and grandma Henderson were as excited as ever to see Katie again. Even though they saw her just a week ago, they were dazzled by how bright her eyes were, and by how strong she seemed.

Cousin Jennifer even stopped by with little Trevor, now 11 months old and already walking. I can't believe that by New Year's 1999, Katie could also be stumbling around, pointing and things and saying, "Da!"

At the moment, Jen's stealing some shut eye while Katie's out here in the living room (we have a living room!) with me, drowsily pondering the vastness of the universe to Pachabel's Canon in D.

I know, I know, Greg's probably disappointed. Thing is, she loves Mozart so much, she won't sleep to it. And right now, sleep is the most cherished state around these parts.

In fact, Katie didn't sleep at all last night. She stopped fussing when we put her in bed with us, but not once did she completely pass out. I swear, from about 2 a.m. until midmorning, she kicked and squirmed and grunted non-stop. Her fist got me in the chin more than once.

The books say six weeks is commonly when another "growth spurt" comes around, so we figure that's what it is. She eats often but not as much, and until a surprise package tonight, she hadn't "filled her diaper" for nearly a day.

Tomorrow we're going to hook up with William for lunch and do some baby shopping, then head back out to Mililani for one of our promised "movie outings." Mom'll be thrilled to watch Katie for a while as her exhausted parents sneak out for a cinematic treat.

What are we seeing? Well, we want to see "Twilight," or "The Big Lebowski," or "As Good as it Gets," but frankly, we're seeing whatever's playing out there. And we're going to enjoy it, even if it turns out to be "The Great Mouse Hunt."

The drive out to mom's was awful, what with the state continuing it's gargantuan roadwork project on the H-1 freeway. To pass the time, we listened to Matt Burger -- former Ka Leo writer and UH journalism alumni -- spin trendy tunes on "Star 101.9."

At one point he said, "Most of all, I hope you're not stuck in that terrible traffic out there on the freeway..."

Burger's got a good radio voice, and as part owner of 101.9, I think he's got good business sense. The station doesn't have a set "genre," as its frequent promos point out, instead merely playing whatever's been topping the charts.

Jen says they got a lot of their CDs at Tower, so I wouldn't be surprised if the store's best-seller list is a factor too.

Their catch phrase is "today's music," so the playlist is saturated with Paula Cole, Third Eye Blind, Jewel, Oasis, Tonic and the like. All the Grammy nominees are in high rotation. But they also throw in some dustier stuff -- Blind Melon, 10,000 Maniacs, Hootie, etc. -- so the motto may be a little inaccurate.

(Let me just say that it is Jen who likes this station. I merely tolerate it. And since Jen can't stand Björk or the Barenaked Ladies...)

Apart from the nearly absent commercials (good for listeners, but bad for radio stations), part of the appeal seems to come from the fact that they don't play anything even remotely "hard." Kind of like "97.5 The Edge" without... well, the edge.

I call it "non-threatening rock."

That makes it ideal for offices and waiting rooms -- a fact not lost on Burger and friends. Their only other slogan seems to be, "Hawaii's at-work station."

Time will tell whether the strategy will pay off. But for a young channel that has practically no supplementary advertising (there's no "Star 101.9 Fun Run" as far as I know), its already got a strong listener base. Burger just might be onto something.

Not that I'd ever go into broadcast.

Speaking of "97.5 The Edge," I really like the way "Classic Rock 98.5" has started picking on them.

See, the slogan for "The Edge" -- the station for whom "Radio Free Hawai`i" was slaughtered -- is "The Rock You Live On." Like Burger's enterprise, "The Edge" plays anything that's popular, but leans toward stuff with guitars. Every so often, though, you'll hear Lisa Loeb.

So 98.5 -- where the playlist is thick with Led Zeppelin and assorted 80s hair bands -- has these commercials:

With a distorted recording of "Stairway to Heaven" in the background, a disgusted, mocking voice says, "How can you call yourself a rock station and play..." -- followed by "Chumbawumba" or "Duran Duran" or some other lightweight (according to them, mind you) band. Then, several voices cry out: "You can't live on that!"


© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 7 March 1998 · Last Modified: 11 March 1998