As basic supervisor of three main tv stations in Honolulu, Rick Blangiardi oversaw the market’s most-watched newscasts for almost twenty years. However over the previous 12 months, Blangiardi started making headlines of his personal.

Blangiardi took workplace earlier this month as the brand new mayor of Hawaii’s capital — successful in a landslide after a blistering 11-month marketing campaign that included extra twists than a TV drama (together with a pandemic that upended his platform). It additionally posed a singular problem to his former information division, which had to determine learn how to cowl its former boss.

Media leaders like Bob Iger and Jeff Zucker have flirted with the thought of coming into politics over time, however few have adopted via with it. Blangiardi, who spent $500,000 of his personal cash to fund a run for mayor, is the uncommon TV exec to have truly pulled it off.

“I didn’t want to stay at the dance too long in broadcast, but I’ve been blessed with some really good energy and I knew I wanted to do something that mattered,” says Blangiardi, who turned 74 in September. “It’s a really high-impact job. It’s an operator’s job. In some ways it’s akin to what I probably did in broadcast.”

Blangiardi was already a well-recognized face on the town when he made the pivot to politics, having appeared usually on digital camera to ship editorials and commentary on the stations he ran. A long time earlier, he was an on-air analyst for College of Hawaii soccer (the place he coached earlier than entering into TV). He completely returned to Honolulu in 2002 after stints on the mainland working stations in Seattle and San Francisco, in addition to the River Metropolis Broadcasting and Telemundo station teams.

“In broadcast, you’re holding a license with the FCC, so in some ways, it’s almost a quasi-governmental position in that you operate the public trust,” he says of how he thinks TV ready him for the mayorship. “And I think broadcast is a great crisis management job. No two days are ever the same.”

As GM, Blangiardi provides he was happy with the information staff’s investigative tales that made a distinction, however felt he might make much more of an affect by shifting to an elected function: “If you really want to get involved in some of the more systemic issues, you need to have that kind of formal authority and that’s one of the things that you get in the mayor’s office,” he says.

See also  Capabilities Reference — SmartThings Classic Developer Documentation

Blangiardi stated he had been approached up to now to think about politics, nevertheless it was the mixture of an possession change at his stations (which had been bought by Grey Tv in 2019), a hand-picked successor able to take over and an open mayoral race that satisfied him to take the leap.

However, his determination final 12 months to retire from a 40-year broadcast profession — the final decade on the helm of CBS affiliate KGMB and NBC affiliate KHNL (collectively referred to as “Hawaii News Now”) — and run for mayor nonetheless shocked his colleagues. “I was a little bit shocked,” says Hawaii Information Now information director Scott Humber. “I will tell you the entire 11-month election cycle was not easy. We knew there would be a target on our back right at the beginning that regardless of what we did people would criticize us; people would just say that we’re shilling for him.”

Blangiardi says he thought Hawaii Information Now overcompensated by being further robust, and Humber says that may very well be true: “We were just as hard on him as we were on all the other candidates, maybe even a little bit harder. Just because we knew that we needed to be and I also knew he certainly could take it.”

Blangiardi’s involvement pressured Humber to rethink how the stations dealt with issues just like the mayoral debates, and in the end he says Blangiardi’s rivals complained it doesn’t matter what the information division did. And now that Blangiardi has been elected, Humber says he’s instructing his staff to not reap the benefits of the truth that they’ve a private relationship with the mayor.

“I said to the staff, ‘I know you all have Rick’s cell phone, but I don’t want you to use it. You’ve got to go through the proper channels. We can’t go down this path where you’re just going to call him up and try and get an answer from him. We’ve got to set guidelines as to how we handle this, even for myself.”

See also  John Wayne

Says Blangiardi: “That team has made it clear to me that while they’re very proud of me and I’m also very involved with them — I hired every single one of them and I remember when some of them got married and they had their babies — what the role of the mayor is in this context and what it represents for people this place. I put a big line in the sand when I cross over that. And I understand that, I respect it.”

Among the many points introduced up late within the race was Blangiardi’s political identification. Honolulu mayor is a non-partisan place, and Blangiardi describes himself as a social liberal and a fiscal conservative. Blangiardi’s competitor within the closing runoff, Keith Amemiya, hammered him for supporting Donald Trump in 2016 (a unfavorable on this Democratic-leaning state).

“I’m an independent person. I’m a guy who voted for Barack [Obama] twice and Bill Clinton twice, but I couldn’t vote for Hillary [Clinton],” he says. “I predetermined because that if I got asked that question [about voting for Trump] that I would not evade it. As a broadcaster all these many years, I’ve had to be an independent person. I voted on both sides. Am I conservative? Yeah. But I’m liberal on a lot of social issues, I wouldn’t label myself Republican.”

Blangiardi additionally distances himself from Trump in a single particular means: Coming from the information media, he doesn’t demonize it.

“I don’t perceive them to be the enemy,” he says. “My point is kind of the antithesis of the national rhetoric about fake news and whatever. I have a high regard for the trustworthiness and the responsibility and the importance of local news and what it means, as a conduit to the people who live here. I know what they represent, so for me it really operates with a respect to who they are and not believing that they’re going to play gotcha as much as they’re going to hold me accountable.”

See also  TIS-100 Guide – All Solutions – GamePretty

Each Blangiardi and Amemiya campaigned as political outsiders, however Humber credit Blangiardi’s success on his communication expertise, honed over time as each a soccer coach and a broadcaster.

“The one thing that Rick does is communicate,” Humber says. “He may over communicate too much sometimes. Given his football background, he treated this place like a football team. He was the head coach, and we all knew it.”

Blangiardi additionally credit his market analysis, one other device he introduced over from his broadcast TV expertise. “If you really understood the value of that research you kind of embraced it use it as a blueprint for action, trying to understand that the stories in the shift and the populations and the levels of interest,” he says. “So, when I decided to run in January we went out and did a big study.”

He stated the analysis, weighted otherwise throughout all demographics on Oahu, checked out title recognition, key points for voters and prime attributes of what individuals needed within the subsequent mayor. Blangiardi stated the report got here again with “leadership,” “trustworthiness” and “decisiveness.” “I knew then that my table was set for an outsider to make a run of this,” he says. “I didn’t know how far I could take it, I’ve never done this before, but I felt good about doing it.”

Blangiardi initially bought into the race targeted on points together with homelessness, speedy transit, reasonably priced housing and infrastructure. However now that COVID-19 has impacted the state’s economic system, which depends closely on tourism, the brand new mayor says his precedence is financial restoration.

“Forget how much money I was making but I gave up a job I loved,” Blangiardi says. “I used to be beneath contract, I might have stayed. I needed to take a 12 months of my life off to get this job which is a giant danger on the time once you depend the years fairly rigorously.

“If we do this well, the team I’m going to put together, myself, this could be the most gratifying work of my life,” he provides.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.