Silly, Unscientific Shark Protests

Bob Jones
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Wednesday - November 04, 2009
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The anti-shark tours crowd is tossing out fear material which matches in ignorance everything used to vilify healthcare reform or question Barack Obama’s birthplace.

The Maui County Council banned those cage tours. Oahu’s City Council was moving down that road but said, “Let’s think about this some more.”

I read something from George Downing - I presume that’s the water-sports legend - and realized how far into the murky waters this debate has gone.

Downing says chumming for sharks increases their population. “They move closer to surfing venues and areas used by divers, spear fishermen, swimmers and snorkelers.”


The dive tours are three miles offshore from Haleiwa. The sharks hang around crab traps there. They are mainly Galapagos with no history of attacking humans.

The Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology says there is no evidence that cage-diving tours increase shark-attack risk for recreational ocean users in near-shore waters. HIMB did a two-year study and says sharks tagged during tours were found to stay far out to sea and do not follow tour boats back to shore.

So let’s cut the baloney except for the federal legal issue that you cannot feed sharks in water between three and 200 miles off-shore. Is a small amount of water-chumming considered “feeding”? If so, we’ve gotta arrest all those crabbers who empty their traps of stale bait.

three star

It’s going to take a while for viewers and advertisers to work through that “merger” of KGMB, KHNL and KFVE news operations.

That’s if the FCC does-n’t step in. There’s no question that Raycom Media (KHNL/KFVE) and MCG Capital (KGMB) have done an end run around the federal intent to diversify broadcast ownerships. Although it’s what would be called a wildcat play in football, it might be legal. And it poses problems for the independent news operations at KHON-2 and KITV-4.

Nielsen Media Research will continue to do news ratings by individual stations even though you’ll be getting 5-7 a.m. news, 5 p.m. news and 10 p.m. news as a simulcast on KGMB/KHNL. So ad salespeople for those two can say, “Look at how many viewers you reach if you buy both newscasts. And, hey, have I got a good deal for you if you also buy the 6 p.m. news on my station.”

There’s also one news director, Chris Archer, making the news coverage decisions under this deal. That troubles me. News directors (I was one) are human with human predispositions on things like rail transit, abortion, education issues. Archer can aim the coverage of two stations now. Three, if you count the occasional KFVE newscast.

And when I did a URL search for on Oct. 26, I was redirected to, the new “owners” of KGMB. (The KGMB site now directs you to HawaiiNewsNow.Com) And the site lists “KHNL/KGMB, a Raycom Media station.” Does that sound like separate ownership?

How good or bad this joint news coverage will be I cannot say. It’s too new. The ads I’ve seen promote a helluva lot of “anchors” and weather people but not a helluva lot of top-flight, shoeleather reporters.

The anchors are mostly young and perky, and we’ll see how they fare against “elders” Joe Moore, Gary Sprinkle, Pamela Young and Paula Akana.

I’m guessing the combine could take a good-size news advertising bite out of KHON and KITV - at least short term as ad agencies analyze the ratings and the ad rates that Raycom has more leeway to play with now that KGMB’s owners get only table-scrap leftovers from UH sports ads. Raycom gets all the news and programming income in return for relieving KGMB’s unhappy investors of a generally poor performance investment.

This realignment creates a Hawaii head-banger between 46-market TV owner Raycom Media (KHNL/KFVE) and 29-TV-markets Hearst Television (KITV). New Vision TV (KHON) is the newcomer with just nine stations and is really more of an equity company - management and acquisitions - rather than a traditional media operator. It’s more like CGM Capital, which bought KGMB and found it had bit off more than it could chew. KHON-2 has been regularly sold and bought in recent years, lost key people but survived on the ratings of key anchor Joe Moore. Moore’s viewer numbers, however, are in regular decline. He is No. 2 at 10 p.m. and being chased by KGMB (now KGMB/KHNL) at 6.

Bottom line: Will you get better news?

Probably not. More graphics, more live shots, more weather (who needs it?), more traffic reports, but not more people who really know what’s going on in the City Council and Legislature.



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