Kapa Cafe

Tommy “Kahikina” Ching Returns to KAPA-FM as Afternoon DJ

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A familiar voice has returned to KAPA-FM’s airwaves.

Tommy “Kahikina” Ching, one of the personalities that helped launch the Hawaiian music station more than 20 years ago, is back behind the mic on KAPA-FM 100.3 Hilo/99.1 Kona for his new show, afternoon drive Pau Hana Party, weekdays from 3 to 7 p.m.

“Kahikina puts the ‘personality’ in radio personality, plus he authentically serves our local audience as a committed member of the Big Island community for 40-plus years,” said KAPA-FM program director Jaz Yglesias. “He’s an industry pro, and I’ve never met any personality more passionate about our trade.”

Ching first joined Pacific Media Group as a DJ for KAPA in 2000. At the time, Ching told Big Island Now that KAPA was established through a combination of the PMG owner at the time as well as DJs pushing to get more Hawaiian music on regular rotation.

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“Nobody else was doing it, except in Honolulu,” Ching said. “Hawaiian music sings about the land, flowers, the ocean. The music gives us a reference to what Hawaiʻi should be like,” he added, “when you play Hawaiian music, I can take you around Hawaiʻi with the songs I play.”

Ching ended up leaving KAPA in 2008 for personal reasons, however, he’d already made a lasting impact on not just the station, but the community at large. Around the time he started at KAPA, Ching also began a charity to raise food for the Hawaiʻi Island Food Basket, which has become a tradition in the community as the annual “Feed-a-Thon.” He’s continued the charity for the past two decades.

Since the Feed-a-Thon began, Ching said he has collected a million and half pounds of food.

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“It’s a problem so easily solved, yet it seems so difficult,” Ching said of food insecurity on Hawaiʻi Island. “If you just gave a little bit, we can take care of a lot of people.”

Prior to returning as KAPA’s afternoon DJ, Ching said he couldn’t sleep.

“I had my first show programmed 10 days before I started,” he said with a laugh.

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With the rise of social media, Ching said that radio doesn’t have the same appeal as it did 20 years ago. However, as he joins his journey with KAPA once again, he plans to have fun.

“I’d like to put life back into radio,” he said. “In order to do that, you’ve got to be in touch with the listeners and the community. If I make you laugh once or twice, I figure you’ll never stop listening.”

Tiffany DeMasters
Tiffany DeMasters is a reporter for Big Island Now. Tiffany worked as the cops and courts reporter for West Hawaii Today from 2017 to 2019. She also contributed stories to Ke Ola Magazine and Honolulu Civil Beat.
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