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Salem Communications Will Go Country in Hawaii

Salem Communications Will Go Country in Hawaii Media & Technology by Carlos Martinez Salem Communications Corp. of Camarillo has completed its acquisition of KJPN-AM in Honolulu from International Communications Corp. for $650,000, but some say Salem may have a difficult time pushing the radio station’s new country music format. Ken Gaines, vice president of operations, said the station, whose call letters were changed to KHCM-AM from KJPN-AM, has switched its format to country music to meet a growing need in the islands. Gaines said Salem, which has a tried and true strategy of changing the format of its newly-acquired stations to religious programming, will proceed with a country music format to fill a void left by defunct country stations there. KHCM is Salem’s fourth radio station in Hawaii and the state’s sole country music station. It had been a Japanese-language station under its previous owner. Honolulu Star Bulletin media reporter Erika Engle said Salem may have a challenge ahead in trying to succeed with country music in an area where that genre has not been all that popular in the past. “Country music has not been a financially viable format since the 1980s, so there’s a serious question whether it’s going to work now,” she said. “There are a lot of military people here who listen to country music, but they’re not going to get Arbitron diaries to fill out. So that’s an audience that is going to remain invisible in the ratings,” she added. T.J. Malinevsky, station general manager, said there are sufficient country music listeners to make the station successful. KKHN-FM was the latest Hawaiian country station to fail when it changed its format to top-40 music and its call letters to KKBM in November 2000. Programming for KHCM-AM will be beamed by satellite from the Jones Radio Network in Colorado. Salem owns and operates 84 radio stations, including KKLA-AM and KRLA-AM, both in Los Angeles. Tekelec Sells its Network Diagnostics Unit Network switching systems maker Tekelec has sold its network diagnostics unit to Mountain View-based Catapult Communications Corp. for about $59.8 million. Mike Margolis, Tekelec’s CEO, said the sale will solidify the Calabasas-based company’s financial position. “The sale allows Tekelec to focus on the significant opportunities in our core business, while also providing added liquidity to our already strong balance sheet,” he said. For the quarter ending June 30, Tekelec reported $4.5 million in net income on $80 million in total revenue, compared to a year earlier when it posted a $4.6 million loss on $70.9 million in revenue. Margolis said the company will continue to focus on its core network switching systems, which include media and signaling controllers that allow messaging, wireless and data transmission functions, all of which make up about 70 percent of its sales. Tekelec also develops software for managing call center operations. WonderWorks Gets $20M Contract Special effects maker and theme park designer WonderWorks Inc. of Canoga Park has signed a $20 million contract to design the first phase of a $200 million theme park near Hong Kong. In its deal with Hong Kong-based Haikou Golden Water Gate Real Estate Development Co., Wonderworks will design and develop the project on an 800-acre site in Haikou City, about an hour’s drive from Hong Kong, said John Palmer who, along with partner Brick Price, will oversee the project. The theme park, dubbed Haiku-Hollywood International Motion Picture Studio and Theme Park, is scheduled to open in 2005. TDK Mediactive Makes Game Deal Westlake Village-based TDK Mediactive Inc. has agreed to partner with Swedish video game-maker O3 Games AB to develop video games. TDK Mediactive, a subsidiary of Japan-based TDK Corp., said the deal will allow O3 games to develop new games, including a version of its “Templar” game based on medieval myths and sorcery. The game will be available for PC and other game platforms. Value of the deal is in excess of $500,000, the companies said. 3D Systems Completes Restructuring Digital model-maker 3D Systems Corp. of Valencia will take a $3 million charge this year after it completed its reorganization and restructuring earlier this month. As part of its yearlong reorganization efforts, involving the acquisition of competitor Texas-based DTM Corp., 3D Systems has reduced its staff from 523 employees to 420 and has closed facilities in Texas and Michigan. Company CEO Brian Service said much of the one-time charge involves severance costs, relocation and closure fees. He said the company will save about $16 million a year after the reorganization. “Our goal has been to streamline our operations and operate more efficiently,” he said. A number of management executives have been promoted as part of the restructuring. Warner Pins Hopes on Powerpuff Girls Video The Cartoon Network’s highly rated cartoon trio, “The Powerpuff Girls,” was unable to spark interest with the July feature film release of the same name, but Warner Home Video, a unit of film producer Warner Brothers Pictures, is rushing the VHS and DVD release of the film in hopes it will score better with the tape-buying public. Ewa Martinoff, Warner Home Video’s vice president of family entertainment marketing, said the scheduled Nov. 5 video issue will do well with many who didn’t see the movie. Instead of waiting the usual six to eight months after a film’s release to issue the home video version, Warner is rushing the video to store shelves to recoup some of the film’s costs. The film’s summer run only grossed $11.3 million, less than half of its $25 million production budget, making it one of the studio’s biggest disappointments. “We certainly feel that it will do much better on video than it did during its theatrical run,” she said. “The Powerpuff Girls” DVD, with a suggested retail price of $26.99, includes cast interviews of the three cartoon superheroes, Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup, along with nemesis Mojo Jojo and the Townsville Mayor. Business Journal reporter Carlos Martinez may be reached at (818) 676-1750 ext. 17 or by e-mail at cmartinez@sfvbj.com.

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