Hawaii News Digest, 10 September 2017, 1540 hrs, UTC, Post #15567.
Reporter: John Burnett (Hawaii Tribune-Herald).
Accessed on 10 September 2017, 1540 hrs, UTC.
Please click link to read the full story.
On 31 August 2017, Hilo radio personality Walter “Waltah” Pacheco died at his home at age 78. His unique on-air pidgin English persona and an ability to stir up controversy over politics, community life, and sports made him a Hilo radio legend from the 1970s to the early 2000s.
KBIG-FM’s Rod Pacheco said his uncle began his radio career while a Hawaii County employee and soon graduated into the morning drive slots at KPUA-AM and KHLO-AM. “Waltah” became a witty, often controversial figure on the Hilo air waves for over 30 years.
Rod Pacheco added that his uncle had another side to his often contentious personality:
“People who called and asked him to play a song for their aunty, uncle, cousin, whoever, who was sick in the hospital, he’d do it, and a lot of times, he’d get flowers and go up to visit.”
“The Hilo-born Pacheco was one of 10 siblings who grew up in a plantation camp on Amauulu Road. He was an amateur boxer and basketball referee who never shied away from controversy.”
“Pacheco admitted to, and publicly apologized for, a drug problem in the 1990s. And at least twice, a lawsuit or threatened lawsuit against a station caused management to part ways with the outspoken Pacheco.”
“But whenever he had a microphone, he had an audience.”
When I was news director at KHLO-AM/KBIG-FM (KKBG-FM), I often shared the morning newscasts with “Waltah”–an experience that was exciting, controversial, and sometimes enlightening. His sportscasts were theatre of the air, often drawing large audiences to Wong Stadium. “Waltah” was down to earth, direct, and acutely aware of what bothered our community. He was “grassroots” and used that knowledge to create a dominant radio voice in East Hawaii. He will be missed.
For the latest State of Hawaii, Hawaii Island, and local sports news, please check the blog sidebars. These news feeds are updated daily.
Opinions expressed in this blog are mine unless otherwise stated.
Thanks for joining us today.
Until next time,
Hawaii News Digest