Kapa Cafe

A Hui Hou: KAPA FM Morning Show Hosts Jaz and Ka‘ea Announce Retirement

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KAPA FM’s weekly morning DJs of The Bolohead & Babes Show are retiring.

Jaz and Ka‘ea Yglesias have been entertaining Hawai‘i Island and beyond on Pacific Media Group’s KAPA morning show since January 2011. Their last day on air will be Friday, July 29.

Jaz said he loves being part of the process of an artist’s dream to be heard.

“For many, it’s not about money, it’s not about fame,” he said. “It’s about sharing their gift and having it change moods, decisions, even lives.”

Chuck Bergson, president and CEO of PMG, said he is grateful to both Jaz and Kaea.

“They have been the ‘Hawaiian Heart’ that has guided KAPA  radio for years.  We wish them great happiness and success in their retirement,” Bergson stated. “They will be missed.”  

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Jaz first joined KAPA in 1998. While he didn’t have experience in radio, he caught the attention KBIG FM’s program director at the time, Nelson Ray Parker. Jaz said his band, ‘Ehukai, was fresh off of winning at the 1996 Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards for their song “Moloka‘i Slide” and was at the station promoting an upcoming concert.

“I was chosen by the band to do the ad cuz I had spoken the best English lol,” Jaz stated in an email to Big Island Now. “Nelson said I had good chops and said if I ever wanted to try radio to call him.”

That opportunity came a few months later after he was let go from his day job as a meat manager at the Hilo Safeway.

“I called Nelson that day and he hired me for the night that same week,” Jaz said. “I guess it was destiny cuz I thought I would retire with Safeway, and I’ve been in radio ever since.”

Ka‘ea started her journey with KAPA in the early 2000s. She said she had been going to the station every month to do PSAs for Pūnana Leo o Kona, a Hawaiian Language Immersion preschool, where her keiki attended.

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“One day I was asked by Kahikina (KAPA DJ) if I would consider doing a Hawaiian language show on Sundays. I eventually agreed,” she recalled.

Jaz was working full-time doing the morning show, “Hawaiian Odd Couple,” with Lyman Medeiros, which later became “Da Boloheads,” adding “we had an awesome run, about 12 years.”

Ka‘ea, who was a full-time kindergarten teacher at Ke Kula ʻo ʻEhunuikaimalino, was doing a feature Sunday show: “Kealahou Our Hawaiian Language Program.” She was eventually asked to DJ weekends and that led to being asked to do middays on KAPA.

“One day, I was called in for a meeting with the owners to see if I would be interested in doing the morning show — in radio that’s the goal,” Ka‘ea explained. “It was a difficult decision because of my passion for my work at school … It took me a while to decide.”

Ka‘ea said it was Jaz who convinced her to join the morning show with him. The couple was not married at the time.

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“It wasnʻt until Jaz sat me down and explained to me that my passion for our language and culture would have a broader reach from my classroom of 25 to this radio platform that would reach tens of thousands,” she said. “That really gave me the courage to take a leap of faith — becoming the morning show co-host and content brand manager for KAPA.”

Ka‘ea was also hesitant to join the morning show with Jaz because she didn’t like him. But that changed once they got behind the mic.

“We eventually did a few gigs together and the chemistry was there when we got on the mic,” she said. “We made a good duo bantering back and forth. I think we are fortunate that we can actually work good as a team.”

Jaz said Ka‘ea is a passionate person.

“We have different passions, but we both heard each other, so conversations were always amazing,” Jaz added. “I think that’s why we fell in love — the conversations — and we both really love food.”

Over the years of doing their show, Jaz and Ka‘ea have worked as a team to not only make listeners laugh but find ways to give back to the community. One of the initiatives borne out of their show was Kākoʻo I Nā Keiki, an annual fundraiser that provides three basic necessities for children: school supplies, slippers and food.

Additionally, Ka‘ea’s background as a Hawaiian language educator created an opportunity to bring ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i into the media.

“Ka‘ea help set a lot of standards for ‘Ōlelo on the radio,” Jaz said. “It’s not just a featured show, we made it every day. I’m still a student (for life) because of that.”

Over the last five years, the couple’s morning show has consistently ranked top 2 On-Island in total listenership, said Joshua Mednick Regional VP and General Manager.

During the pandemic, their KAPA Café Friday radio/social media interviews highlighted community leaders, elected officials and charities – bringing information to the public about available services and support organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mednick said they have helped launch the careers of countless local artists and bands, giving airplay and exposure to these musicians.

“As broadcasters, we are charged with the responsibility of serving the public interest.  For more than a decade, Jaz and Ka’ea have exemplified what it means to do that,” Mednick added.

After more than a decade of entertaining the masses, Jaz and Ka‘ea said it was time to step away from the mic.

“Our children need us more than ever,” Ka‘ea said. “They were all raised either without me/us being home in the morning or having to come to work and get ready for school at the station. They can tell you stories,” she said. “They’ve sacrificed a lot. Our oldest is now 21 and the baby is 7. It’s time.”

Jaz said he plans to sleep in till 6 a.m. after they’ve retired from KAPA.

“For 25 years I have been getting up at 4:30 so 6 a.m. is sleeping in,” Jaz said. “I’m gonna take Sage to school, make Ka‘ea breakfast.”

Both Jaz and Ka‘ea already have a variety of ventures they plan to focus on. Jaz will start working this coming semester as the new music teacher at Konawaena High School where they are adding recording and production to the school’s applied music program. He will also be teaching a self-defense/martial science class as a new elective.

Jaz also plans on focusing on their family businesses, their recording studio, Mixed Emotion Studio, and Jaz’s Brazilian Jiu Jitsu School, Shoot Hawai‘i Dojo.

Ka‘ea is currently an instructor at Hawaiʻi Community College – Pālamanui teaching Hawaiʻi Life Style courses, which she plans to continue. She also plans to focus her efforts on her hālau with her sister Kahelelani Alohikea-Smith, Hālau Kaʻeaikahelelani.

“Mahalo PMG and all the KAPA fans for the years of support,” Jaz said. “Keep supporting Hawaiian music and local artists.”

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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