Wed, 12 August 2015
Ho`olohe Hou the blog is now Ho`olohe Hou Radio – a unique and exciting new concept in Hawaiian music edutainment.
Ho`olohe Hou the blog simply exploded last year. I published more than 750 pages of information on Hawaiian music artists and composers, and readers responded by clicking on the links that appealed to them. This served as an important form of market research. The more clicks an artist received, the clearer it became that the Hawaiian music-loving world longed to hear those artists again. Interestingly, many of the artists with the widest appeal on my blog also happen to be artists for whom few or no recordings have been made available in the digital era.
If you are an avid follower of Ho`olohe Hou the blog, then you know that the source of the material for this life-long investigation into Hawaiian music is my vast collection of more than 25,000 recordings from Hawai`i dating back more than a century. But what you might not know is that I am also an avid collector of other kinds of music – from classic rock and pop to jazz, standards, the great vocalists (from Sinatra to Ella), Broadway and the Great American Songbook, country/western, R&B, and classical. And I am also a musician myself. So every time I hear one of these Hawaiian recordings, my mind begins to race with the various connections – some obvious, some less so – between the music of Hawai`i and music from other parts of the world. I have always been fascinated by tracing the evolution of Hawaiian music and observing where that story arc intersects with the evolution of other kinds of music. Despite being an island in the middle of the Pacific, Hawai`i and its musicians have been greatly influenced by music from the rest of the world and, at the same time, the world at large owes a debt of gratitude to Hawai`i and its musicians for their contributions.
By last November this blog was receiving more than 8,000 visits per month. That is a startling amount of of interest in the music and entertainers of Hawai`i. But I was more impressed that more than 850 readers visited this blog on December 25th – Christmas Day, for many the most sacred day of the year – to find out what recording I had chosen as #1 in my countdown of the 25 Greatest Christmas Albums from Hawai`i. It was then that I truly realized that I was not alone in my ardent passion for the music and musicians of Hawai`i. And I realized that there were others like me for whom five minutes a day on a blog was not satisfying that insatiable passion.
And, so, Ho`olohe Hou Radio was born.
The concept behind Ho`olohe Hou Radio is simple. It is not merely music for the sake of entertainment. It is an attempt at educating those who are truly interested in the history of Hawai`i and its composers, singers, and musicians – what makes them historically and culturally important. It is a first ever attempt at Hawaiian music edutainment. Unofficially launched via Live365 on January 2nd of this year, the station was relaunched on July 3rd to coincide with the 80th anniversary of the first episode of Hawaii Calls radio broadcasts. And, so far, it is a tremendous success. Already the station has been heard by more than 20,000 listeners from over three dozen countries who have tuned in for more than 13,000 hours. However, to create an internet radio station with the bandwidth to support acceptable sound quality for the greatest number of listeners possible and disk space to house a library of more than 5,000 songs (about 20% of my collection), I had to make a tremendous investment to even pilot this concept. And so I am seeking assistance from you, the faithful visitors to the Ho`olohe Hou blog.
I want you to know everything you want and need to know about Ho`olohe Hou Radio before you make a decision to lend your support. To find out more about the station, click here or on the link to the video above (labeled "POD"). Then visit the link on this page to “Ho`olohe Hou Radio” (under "Topics") for articles about how this station was born, what it makes it “go,” and why it should be important to Hawaiian music lovers everywhere. And, while you’re reading and considering, why not take Ho`olohe Hou Radio for a test drive? Click here or on the Live365 logo on this page to listen to the station and find out for yourself what it’s all about and what makes it special. When you decide to make a commitment of financial support to Ho`olohe Hou Radio, click here or on the Kickstarter logo on this page.
Ho`olohe Hou the blog will continue to exist and will offer tie-ins with Ho`olohe Hou Radio such as additional information about the songs and artists you hear on the station. (See, for example, the many blog features on the stars of the Hawaii Calls radio program in support of the station’s month-long celebration of that program.) So you will hopefully return to this space time and again.
Keep aloha in your hearts, and take Hawaiian music wherever you go. And now you can with Ho`olohe Hou Radio – available on your PC or Mac, iPhone, tablet, or Android device, even your home entertainment system courtesy of TiVo and Roku. I am excited about this exciting new adventure in Hawaiian music edutainment, and I hope you are too. Mahalo in advance for your consideration and your support.
Me ka ha`aha`a,
Wed, 12 August 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 12, 2015
For more information contact:
Ho`olohe Hou Radio
Giving New Life to the Forgotten Voices of Hawaii
The Surprising New Home of Hawaiian Music Radio Is New Jersey
Ewing, NJ – Enterprising Hawaiian music lover and musician Bill Wynne has launched Ho`olohe Hou Radio from the basement studio of his New Jersey home via internet radio platform Live365. Unlike any previous endeavor in Hawaiian music radio, the station features primarily out-of-print recordings from Wynne’s archives of more than 25,000 Hawaiian music recordings – in various archaic media dating back to 1906 – which he has spent thousands of hours painstakingly remastering. More than this, the station is a first-ever attempt at Hawaiian music “edutainment” with Wynne offering commentaries throughout each programing day on the historic and cultural importance of the music and artists heard on the station. Wynne timed the launch of the station to coincide with the 80th anniversary of the world-renowned Hawaii Calls radio program which premiered on July 3, 1935, and in its first month of broadcasting, the station has already garnered more than 8,000 listeners in more than 30 countries and the endorsement of some of Hawaii’s finest musicians and cultural practitioners. Now Wynne is seeking to fund the station for its first year of operation through a Kickstarter campaign.
For over 40 years Wynne has collected every record from or about Hawai`i that he could get his hands on – a collection which now spans two floors of his modest home. Entertainers from Hawai`i or their families have acknowledged Wynne as a “keeper of the culture” by entrusting to him unreleased recordings, home video, candid interviews, recordings from private parties, jam sessions, and even handwritten lyric sheets. All of these treasures Wynne has both studied and meticulously filed for future reference. Throughout 2014, Wynne wrote more than 750 pages on the history of Hawaiian music and its musicians and composers for his Ho`olohe Hou blog – information which in many cases could not be found previously in any other source. Wynne has revealed mysteries about Hawaiian music that even ethnomusicologists had not to date explored, and he has discussed the evolution of Hawaiian music and its relationship to jazz, pop, country, and other influences from outside the islands. And Wynne is uniquely qualified to do this since he is not merely a Hawaiian music archivist, but also a performer, having learned from an early age to play the instruments which help define the Hawaiian music tradition – ukulele, slack key guitar, and steel guitar – and sing hundreds of songs in the Hawaiian language – an amazing feat for a child born and raised on the East Coast and who boasts no Hawaiian lineage. Wynne’s specialty is the rare art of Hawaiian falsetto singing for which he was awarded First Prize in both the singing and Hawaiian language usage categories in the Aloha Festivals Falsetto Contest in 2005 – earning him a recording contract with Honolulu-based Hula Records.
Even Wynne’s approach to fundraising is unique. It is a rare Kickstarter campaign that guarantees funders a return on their investment as Wynne has already built and launched the station. The fundraising period concludes on August 31st, and because he has made a substantial personal investment in the station, it is Wynne’s sincere hope that the early interest in his experiment in Hawaiian music “edutainment” just as quickly translates into listener support.
For additional information about Ho`olohe Hou Radio or Mr. Wynne, visit the Ho`olohe Hou blog (www.hawaiianmusiclives.com), Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/hoolohehou),or Kickstarter page and video (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/hwnmusiclives/ho-olohe-hou-radio) or call Mr. Wynne at 609-477-2629.
Category:Ho`olohe Hou Radio -- posted at: 8:20am EDT
Fri, 3 July 2015
When people ask how long I have been involved in Hawaiian music, I tell them, “Likely since I was in utero.” For years before I was born, my mother and father led a music and dance troupe on the East Coast which performed solely Hawaiian music and hula. Hawaiian music – if not Hawaiian lineage – was in my blood.
I first stepped on stage with an `ukulele before I was three-years-old. By my teens my obsession became slack key guitar. By my twenties, I was focused on the steel guitar. But my first love has always been the Hawaiian song – the beauty of the Hawaiian language and the way the haku mele (or Hawaiian composer) weaves together words like so many flowers into a precious lei. I learned to sing more than a thousand Hawaiian songs, and I specialized in the art of Hawaiian falsetto singing – eventually taking first prize in both singing and Hawaiian language at the 2005 Aloha Festivals Falsetto Contest on O`ahu.
Today, I perform Hawaiian music up and down the East Coast and occasionally by invitation in Hawai`i. In my spare time, I am the Director of New Product Development for the world’s leading educational research organization. So I understand what “innovation” means and what it takes to bring a new product or service to market.
Click here for more information on Bill's colorful life in Hawaiian music.
Category:Ho`olohe Hou Radio -- posted at: 6:55am EDT
Fri, 3 July 2015
To fully understand the mission of this project, I encourage you to watch this short video above (labeled "POD"). But at the heart of it is innovation. I didn’t invent radio, and I surely didn’t invent Hawaiian music. But I see an opportunity to put the two together in a manner that has never been attempted before. I call it “Hawaiian Music Edutainment.” Instead of spending so much airtime on commercials, a few minutes each hour on Ho`olohe Hou Radio will be dedicated to educational programming which will help the listener understand the historic and cultural importance of the songs and artists they hear on this unique station. Some of the proposed educational segments include:
Also planned are monthly shows focused on each of the unique Hawaiian music traditions such as the `ukulele, the slack key guitar, the steel guitar, and falsetto singing. And contests! Tune in every day for the opportunity to earn back your pledge to Ho`olohe Hou Radio.
Finally, Ho`olohe Hou Radio is about memories. Because Hawaiian music is about memories. I am eager to forge an on-going relationship with my listeners and hear the stories of that romance that was sparked when you first heard a song, the venues where you used to spend Saturday nights where these artists performed but which have since seen the fate of the wrecking ball, or that lucky day when you had the rare opportunity to meet your Hawaiian music hero.
Fri, 3 July 2015
I love all kinds of Hawaiian music. But the history of Hawaiian music radio – which over the last three decades has largely been a corporate endeavor – dictates that stations play only music from a specific era or only the current hits. For these corporate stations, vintage Hawaiian music merits only an hour per week (or less) of airtime. Even those stations which claim to play classic Hawaiian music more often only play those recordings which remain available on CD or MP3. There is a vast world of Hawaiian music that is no longer commercially available and hasn’t been in decades.
Courtesy of exposure in social media, the Ho`olohe Hou the blog simply exploded last year. I published more than 750 pages of information on Hawaiian music artists and composers, and readers responded by clicking on the links that appealed to them. This served as an important form of market research. The more clicks an artist received, the clearer it became that the Hawaiian music-loving world longed to hear those artists again. Interestingly, many of the artists with the widest appeal on my blog also happen to be artists for whom few or no recordings have been made available in the digital era. Take, for example, Haunani Kahalewai – once considered one of Hawai`i’s most recognizable voices around the world courtesy of the weekly Hawaii Calls radio broadcasts. Although Haunani recorded a half-dozen full length LPs for the Capitol and Decca labels, was featured on a third of the nearly 30 total Hawaii Calls LPs on Capitol, and recorded a dozen 45 rpm singles for the Waikiki Records label, only four of Haunani’s songs are available on CD or MP3. The same is true of such venerable acts as Emma Veary, Pua Almeida, Boyce Rodrigues, Alfred Apaka, Sonny Kamahele, Buddy Fo, Sam Kapu, Andy Cummings, Sterling Mossman, George Kainapau, Charles K.L. Davis, Danny Kua`ana, Lena Machado, Kekua Fernandez, Myra English, Lani Kai, Ed Kenney, Nalani Olds Reinhardt, Poncie Ponce, Nina Keali`iwahamana, The Aliis, Pauline Kekahuna, Rodney Arias, The Hilo Hawaiians, Ray Andrade, Ilima Baker, The Surfers, Hilo Hattie, Tony Lindsey, and countless scores of others.
But what really predicated the need for a new and different kind of 24/7 Hawaiian music radio station was the discovery last year that Hawaiian music lovers outside of Hawai`i must now pay for the privilege of listening to the few tired corporate-run radio stations in Hawai`i. Because I sit here amidst these vast archives of Hawaiian music greatness, usually whenever I want to enjoy Hawaiian music, I just turn in any direction and trip over a fantastic recording. But one day last summer after returning from Hawai`i and longing for some “local color” and sitting on my patio out of reach of my collection, I decided to dial up my favorite of the corporate radio stations from Hawai`i via the Internet. I was presented with two links:
Clicking on the latter link I was startled to discover that those listening outside of Hawai`i must now pay $3.49 / month – or $42 / year – to listen to that station. So I moved along to my second favorite station only to discover the same thing: Non-Hawai`i residents were made to pay $5.00 / month – or $60 / year – to listen to that station. And I thought… $42 a year? $60 a year? For what? 15 minutes an hour of commercials, 20 minutes an hour of news, weather, and DJ gab, and less than a half-hour of music (and most of that the same as the day before).
Not being bashful, I inquired with one of the stations as to these fees, and the explanation is most reasonable: The royalties that traditional radio stations pay only cover listeners within their local listening area. The internet era has made it more expensive for a traditional radio station to do business because they need to pay royalties twice – once for their local airplay, and again for their Internet stream. Because of this, some stations have shut down their Internet stream altogether. Those that have kept their stream must charge listeners to keep that stream viable.
The difference between these stations and Ho`olohe Hou Radio is that these corporations must charge in order to maintain their desired profit margin. I, for one, do not think it appropriate to profit from a culture that does not belong to me. One of the goals of Ho`olohe Hou Radio is to give back to the Hawaiian people the forgotten songs and artists of Hawai`i. While not chartered as a not-for-profit, Ho`olohe Hou Radio merely aims to cover its expenses.
Category:Ho`olohe Hou Radio -- posted at: 6:05am EDT
Fri, 3 July 2015
In the collectors’ world, “out of print” means “no longer commercially available.” But it is a term that is largely misunderstood. In the non-collectors’ world, it is often assumed that anything worth listening to has been re-released in the digital era in CD or MP3 format, and many of us were encouraged to throw away our vinyl recordings and cassettes because there would someday no longer even be any equipment to play them. Conversely it is often assumed that anything that remains out of print must be from eons ago and the master tapes cannot be found.
Both of these assumptions are false.
Some of the most historically and culturally important recordings in the history of Hawaiian music remain out of print. You cannot obtain, for example, any of Lena Machado’s recordings from the 1930s with Dick McIntire, George Kainapau’s early recordings with bandleader Ray Kinney, or any of Pua Almeida’s recordings on Waikiki Records from the 1950s and 60s. But, for many, the importance of these recordings in the evolution of Hawaiian music is secondary to the reality that they are simply beautiful examples of Hawaiian music – many possibly lost forever except for those few copies in private collections.
But not all out of print recordings are quite so old. There are fabulous recordings from the digital era – as recently as the 80s and 90s – no longer available. This is not because the master tapes are missing. The reason is largely financial. Many musicians do not own their own master tapes. This is why you have not seen re-releases of important recordings by Sam Bernard or Tony Conjugacion. And the owners of the masters have little or nothing to gain financially by remastering and re-releasing them. While it may cost upwards of $25,000 to properly remaster a recording, the recording might only generate $10,000 in sales – a losing proposition (to say the least).
“Remastering” means something different if you have the master tape than if you don’t. Remastering is easier if you have the master tape. For Ho`olohe Hou Radio, the remastering process is a little more difficult. I will be working largely from recordings that have seen the ravages of time and the carelessness of their previous owners. For starters, the biggest offender in record noise is dirt. Records need to be cleaned, and this is a painstaking and time-consuming process. Next, not all styli (or, for the layperson, record needles) are built alike. If the previous owner of a record wore it down with a conical stylus, then an elliptical stylus might track the groove better. If it was worn down with an elliptical stylus, a hyperelliptical stylus might be in order. Did you know that the grooves on a 45rpm record are wider than on an LP record – necessitating a different kind of stylus altogether? And did you know that records pre-dating the stereo era (before 1959) require a different kind of stylus than later stereo records? Matching the record with the appropriate stylus is also time-consuming and is a process of trial and error. Then the record must be transferred to computer and any remaining noise painstakingly removed – one click or pop at a time – using digital tools. And all of this must be done without making the vintage recording sound like some digital remnant of its original beauty. In other words, all of this processing cannot be overdone lest the remastering work become quite noticeable to the listener. A single 40-minute LP record can take up to 10 hours to remaster. Now multiply this by thousands of LPs, 45s, and 78s. I do not require to be compensated for this work. I consider it a labor of love. But each different stylus can cost a minimum of $150. A modest automatic record cleaning machine can cost at least $750. Ho`olohe Hou Radio would be honored if the materials in the remastering process were listener-supported. If Ho`olohe Hou Radio reaches its primary funding goal, a stretch goal will be initiated to attempt to fund the materials used in the remastering process.
Category:Ho`olohe Hou Radio -- posted at: 5:55am EDT
Fri, 3 July 2015
For traditional corporate radio stations, commercials are the primary (and often sole) source of revenue. That’s why there are so many commercials per hour. But not for Live365, the hosting service for Ho`olohe Hou Radio. The commercials are aimed at generating the revenue needed to pay royalties to artists and composers. But the rest of the operating expenses – what we would call in the corporate world overhead (electricity, servers, routers, webpages, design and creation of apps) – are covered by subscribers – those individuals like me who desire to host a radio station. The fees can be as inexpensive as $4 / month, but that sort of subscription is limited to five (5) concurrent listeners. When the sixth listeners clicks on the station, then, they receive a message that the station is “full” and to “try again later.” For $39 / month, a subscription will support an unlimited number of listeners but only for a 1,000 total hours. So if a mere 25 listeners were to tune in for only 40 hours – or one work week – the total hours would be exhausted and the station would not be available for the remaining three weeks of the month. This is like putting a parking meter on radio.
For these reasons, I selected Live365’s most robust professional broadcasting package. For $199 / month, the station can support up to 5,000 listener hours. If the station exceeds this (and I hope it will), additional hours will be available at an expense to the broadcaster of $0.05 / hour. This means that Ho`olohe Hou Radio will support an unlimited number of listeners for as long as they wish to listen without ever being rebuffed by a “try again later” message.
But, with the aim of hosting the most unique Hawaiian music radio station in history, I went a step further. The $199 / month professional package only boasts 8GB of storage at the highest available bitrate quality (128kbps). I did some math… At that bitrate, the station would only hold approximately 2,664 songs. This might be a huge collection to many of you, but it would only represent 10% of my vast archives of more than 25,000 Hawaiian recordings. I worked with my Live365 account manager to acquire double the storage space – 16GB – to double the size of the Ho`olohe Hou Radio library to more than 5,000 songs. But each additional 1GB will cost the station $20 / month – or an additional $160 / month – bringing the total Live365 expenditure to $359 / month – or $4,320 / year. This is the basis of my humble fundraising request. The rest of the funds will be used for incidental expenses needed right here in the Ho`olohe Hou Radiostudios (electricity, additional Internet bandwidth to update the Live365 library, hard drives to continuously back-up the collection). There is a stretch goal to attain additional resources such as additional Live365 storage space and hardware and software to make the remastering process more efficient. I’ll tell you more about the stretch goal when we reach our primary funding goal.
I asked myself – long and hard – if anyone would pay for radio. The truth is we already do. 3.3 million listeners are paying $4.99 / month for access to Pandora. More than 15 million of us are paying $9.99 / month for Spotify, Google Radio, Rhapsody, and Rdio. And millions more are paying between $9.99 / month and $18.99 for Sirius/XM (a provider which has long ignored a petition signed by thousands demanding that these services begin offering a Hawaiian music station).
The key is striking a balance between commercials and listener-funding. The question in my mind was not whether or not listeners would pay for radio with commercials. The question really was how many commercials are tolerable? Ho`olohe Hou Radio via Live365 only airs five minutes of commercials per hour – or less than 10% of the airtime. Are you willing to fund the other 90%? Is five minutes of commercials really so terrible? Are Hawaiian music lovers different from the rest of the listener universe in that they actually care that Hawaiian artists and composers get paid? We are about to find out in this grand experiment.
Of course, if you find any commercials at all that offensive, see the list of premiums Ho`olohe Hou Radio is offering – which include both 6-month and 12-month commercial-free listening packages and still for less than the price of any of the other services listed above.
But, most importantly, none of the services above boast the Hawaiian music library that Ho`olohe Hou Radio will offer – because all of the services above only spin recordings that have been made available in the digital era, while much of the Ho`olohe Hou Radio library will come from long out of print recordings.
Category:Ho`olohe Hou Radio -- posted at: 5:45am EDT