Wednesday, December 3, 2008


NOTE: The number things are supposed to be footnotes, but I guess they didn't transfer from Word very well. They all correspond to a note at the bottom of the post.

Talofa lava[1] everyone,

I’ve finally gotten my laptop! Thanks, Mom and Dad! However, I apparently don’t have any internet here in my apartment just yet. Jeez, that’s just like getting your first paycheck and not being able to deposit it just yet, which has also happened.

I don’t have any internet because I apparently have to go down to the phone company and get it switched on (no easy task when you don’t have a car, work until 5:30, and they close at 6). Right now I’m typing this into a Word document that I’ll save to my flash drive and upload at work tomorrow. I can’t deposit my check just yet, because I’ve been told that the fastest way to get anything done at Bank of Hawai’i is to get there ten minutes before they open and be first in line when they open the door, due to lines. I picked this one over the other bank here, ANZ Amerika Samoa,[2] because they don’t have a reputation for losing customers’ money for weeks at a time. They also have all these amazing conveniences like online banking and debit cards that are actually issued in conjunction with major credit card companies, meaning that they are accepted at all 6 places on the island that take credit cards.

So yeah, where I work and who I work with: When people ask me where I work, I find myself getting stuck in this weird little conundrum that I used to get into when people at Elon asked me where I was from: I could give them an answer that was specific, or an answer that they understood. Back then I could say “Mooresville,” which led to them asking where that was, or I could say “North Carolina,” causing them to ask where in North Carolina I was from. Today I can say that I work for 93KHJ, the radio station that is #1 in the territory that is also owned by Larry and is based in the same office as me, but I really work for Island Television. If I say I work for Island Television, everyone assumes that I work for the cable company, or KVZK, the local tape-Honolulu-channels-and-rebroadcast-them-when-they-get-here-two-weeks-later TV stations.[3] Eventually, I figured out that the best answer for telling people where I was from was to say “Mooresville, North Carolina.” A solution for telling people where I work will show up eventually. Right now I’m going with “Make Island Television into a household name.”

The office is fairly small, located on the second and top floor of Pago Plaza, a combination mini micro-mall and office complex in “downtown” Pago Pago, the biggest city town in the territory and the capital. It holds the HQ of 93KHJ, the popular and first radio station in the territory to use the “Hot AC” format.[4] It’s also home to WVUV, a station that uses the “Polynesian” format. But I guess that Jamaica is now part of Polynesia, because they play a lot of Reggae as well. Who knew? Both of these stations get there own recording studio room. In between them is the office of Joey, my immediate boss and go-to-guy for whenever I don’t know what the hell I’m doing. There is a third office/recording studio that is mainly used for the radio news reporting, and then there’s the room that I work in, where most of the TV operations are conducted. Finally, there is the main room, which has the receptionist’s desk, something you might call a cubicle or two (but you’d be wrong), and the break room tables and couch. Not very big (the whole thing is smaller than then newsroom alone at Fox Charlotte, where I interned last summer), but more than comfortable and enough room to get the job done.

The people I work with are really great. Not one of them is at all hard to get along with. A few that stick out in my mind right away are Joey, Monica, Twinkle, and John. Joey has been very awesomely driving me to work and back almost every day and has been able to answer 99% of my questions about life on the island and has shown me around a bit. Monica does the radio news and is possibly the best-known person on the island that no one would recognize by sight. She is my “Island Mom” and has been taking really good care of me, taking me to get my cell phone activated, to the Community College play, and generally showing me around. Twinkle[5] is the station’s resident crazy character, and somehow works reception when the regular person, Sia, is out, DJs on weekends, and works at L&L Hawaiian Barbecue, a fast-food franchisette owned by Larry, Joey, and someone I’ve never met. John is pretty awesome, but I’m just getting to know him. He co-hosts the morning show with Lupe (my other Island Mom), as well as The 411, a weekly public affairs talkshow that I’ll be taking over fairly soon. I should also mention Flora, who helps a lot with the more mundane parts of my job, like chopping up syndicated shows at the commercial breaks. I don't know how I'm going to get anything done after she leaves at the end of the year.

Well, it’s a blisteringly late 10:30 PM here, so I’m going to bed. Curse this real-world sleep schedule![6]

[1] “Hello to you,” I think.
[2] That’s how the spell the name of the Territory in Samoan. Also “ANZ” stands for “Australia New Zealand,” but is pronounced “A N Zed.”
[3] That’s really supposed to be “stations” with an s. There are really two stations here with the same call letters, KVZK-1 and KVZK-2. More on TV here another time.
[4] More or less pop music, as far as I know. But they have a live local morning show, local news, and play Funk on “Funky Friday.”
[5] She also goes by “Hobbit” and a rather long Samoan name that’s too hard to remember.
[6] Made you look!
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