Member Feature: Manaʻo Radio

Member Feature: Manaʻo Radio

At the top of the new year, we sat down with Michael Elam of Manaʻo Radio, one of our newer members, to learn about what Manaʻo Radio offers to Maui, what their goals are and how our association can bridge any gaps. Being Mana’o Radio is purely staffed and operated by volunteers, it is remarkable how long this nonprofit has been staying strong and how large of a bandwidth these ad-free station reach. Although, with show names like “Atomic Café,” “Matteo’s Mixtape,” or “Something for Nothing” with the description reading “rock, blues, jazz, reggae, electronica and whatever floats his boat at the time,” it’s no wonder 91.7FM has captured our attention. In fact, this DJ driven station catches the attention of many outside of Maui, as far away as Los Angeles, other mainland cities and even Canada, Japan, Germany and the UK. So, while one might question why Mana’o Radio would be in the circles of Maui Hotel & Lodging, the impression it is making on visitors is such that it’s being taken back home with visitors when they leave, making this niche brand an upcoming influencer on the tourism market. For the real attraction of Mana’o Radio is that it gives insight to the ‘Maui-way’; people following intuition, open minded to the feelings of the day, influenced by peaceful scenery and nontraditional ways.

In 2023, Manaʻo Radio won the Maui Times Best Radio Station on Maui and the top finalists of the Best Radio DJ category were also from Manaʻo Radio Stations. Organic to Maui, this station is what many visitors (and locals alike) seek out, people looking to create relationships that foster their ideals of Maui living. For not only does the team of eighty volunteers craft stimulating hours of sound but they create partnered support for many community events including the 4th Friday Kihei Town Parties and more recently, fundraisers for Maui Strong. Other ongoing partnered events include the Sunflower Farm Music Fest, St. John’s Kula Festival and many Musical Showcasings at ProArts Theater, including three this month of February.

While worldwide livestreaming is available through the website and past shows are available on replay, the Maui-made brand just launched its first on-the-go App last year, called “KMNO App”, available on Apple Store or Google Play, making its headway into bigger waters of possibilities. As mentioned earlier, one cannot purchase a pre-scripted ad space that runs as a commercial on this station. Instead, underwriters who support the soul of the show are given a shout out in-between song changes or DJ shifts in addition to a weblink on the page of the show supported. Such a business model gave way to greater trust of transparency and increased the radio streaming sessions by nearly 10% a month over the past year and their social media reach increased by 100%!

To learn more of how to support our member or be involved, contact [email protected].

Photo Credit: Manaʻo Radio


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