Saturday, March 27, 2010

Cec Heftel -- One of the Good Things about Hawaii

November 7, 2011 Update: President Barack Obama signs legislation to honor former congressman and broadcasting executive Cecil Heftel by attaching his name to the United States Postal Service facility at 4354 Pahoa Avenue in Honolulu, HI. The dedication ceremony will be held on March 16, 2012.
July 28, 2011 Update: The U.S. House of Representatives this evening passed H.R.2149 -- To designate the "Cecil l. Heftel Post Office Building" in Honolulu, Hawaii. 
This blog has been created as a repository of remembrances, stories and accounts of good times regarding former congressman and broadcasting great Cec Heftel, who passed away on February 4, 2010.

We'll add to this site and hope visitors will, too, by clicking on "comments" below and recording your recollections of the man who left his mark on broadcasting coast to coast, and most particularly in his adopted home of Hawaii.

A Celebration of the Life of Cec Heftel was held in Honolulu on March 28, 2010 and resulted in expanding "the Heftel story" to an even greater audience due to television and newspaper coverage. The Honolulu Advertiser and The Honolulu Star-Bulletin carried photographs and stories, and all Honolulu television news stations had extensive coverage: Hawaii News Now (combined KGMB and KHNL), KITV and KHON.

Speakers included US Senator Daniel K. Inouye, Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, and former US representatives from Hawaii Neil Abercrombie, Ed Case and Pat Saiki. Major General Timonthy Haake (US Army, ret) flew in from Washington, DC to recall working with Cec when the congressman was a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

US Senator Daniel Akaka and current Central Intelligence Agency Director Leon Panetta, a fellow member with Mr. Heftel in the 95th Congress's freshman class, sent messages that were read to the gathering.

Radio and TV personality George "Granny Goose" Groves had the house laughing long and hard during his excessively prolonged recollections that prompted video producer Phil Arnone to step on-stage with an exaggerated "cut" sign. Honolulu attorney Rick Fried, a pilot and Cec's long-time friend, told the generally unknown fact that two aviation checkpoints offshore from Honolulu International Airport are named for the honoree -- one called "Cec" and the other "Heftel."

Tributes to Cec's commitment to excellence by many former employees, business associates and friends were included in a remarkable video presentation spanning Mr. Heftel's career.

Hundreds attended the event, which brought many of them together again for the first time in decades. To a person, they all said they were honored to have known and worked for Cec Heftel.

YouTube -- interviewed on his call for a Hawaii Constitutional Convention
Mr. Heftel on Congress's habit of "spending money that didn't exist."
Broadcast Professionals of Colorado 
Volcanic Ash Column -- on Mrs. Heftel's rejection of a Republican congressman's premature proposal to name a post office after Mr. Heftel, a Democrat whose politics were diametrically opposed to the member of the party, who was defeated for re-election by Colleen Hanabusa (see top photograph). Ms. Hanabusa initiated the legislation that ultimately was passed and signed into law by President Obama.
Another take on the "naming flap"
Congressional Record -- Hawaii Representatives Hanabusa and Mazie Hirono on the naming of a Honolulu post office in Mr. Heftel's honor.
The back story on how Cec Heftel broke the Tea Party logjam in Congress after his death.
U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie's Statement on Mr. Heftel's passing
MidWeek columnist Bob Jones -- without pulling punches about Mr. Heftel's "dark side," the column nevertheless honors the memory of a pull-no-punches competitive broadcaster.
Another former KGMB-TV staffer before and after Mr. Heftel's memorial
Honolulu columnist Burl Burlingame -- on Mr. Heftel's interest in purchasing the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.
Star-Bulletin's "100 Who Made a Difference"
Honolulu Media Council Lunch with Cec Heftel -- "How Money Bought American Broadcasting"
March of Dimes Lifetime Achievement Award

Capturing Cec's Spirit

Mr. Heftel at a 1977 congressional hearing in Honolulu. Cec was the first member of Congress to use pre-paid return-mail questionnaires to poll his constituents. Their sentiments on Saturday mail delivery were obvious in this photograph. Now that the U.S. Postal Service is proposing the elimination of Saturday mail delivery again and closing more than 3,600 post offices, we could use more of Cec's initiative and drive.


  1. Thank you for putting this site together. I met Cec Heftel in the 70's as a consultant to one of his Hawaii radio stations. He was wonderful to work with, and although much time has passed since our initial meeting .... he remained a friend who I was honored to have known and someone who will be sorely missed. Larry Shipp.

  2. Thank you, Larry. Hope you clicked on the media links from the news coverage last night and today. ~Doug

  3. I'll remember him as the best owner I ever had the privilidge of working for.

    Straight forward, he was a man of few words who placed great importance on what came out of the radio speaker. He appreciated on-air talent and rewarded them substanually.

    Like Gordon McClendon, Cec Heftel is remembered for showmanship.