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  • Hawai‘i Public Radio (HPR) - Hawaiʻi Public Radio Chief José A. Fajardo To Step Down In July 2024

Hawaiʻi Public Radio chief José A. Fajardo to step down in July

HONOLULU, HI – José A. Fajardo will be stepping down from his role as Hawai‘i Public Radio’s president and general manager on July 31, due to his ongoing battle against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a fatal neurodegenerative disease with no known cure.

The HPR Board of Directors will oversee a nationwide search for Fajardo’s successor.

Fajardo was appointed president and general manager of the independent, community-licensed service in May 2016. Under his leadership, HPR has completed the buildout of its statewide network of transmitters; realigned the programming schedules on its two distinct streams, HPR-1 (news, information, entertainment) and HPR-2 (classical music); made significant investments in news, digital content and staff resources, adding new positions and establishing a professional development fund for staff; and maintained the highest rating, four stars, on Charity Navigator, an evaluator of nonprofits nationwide.
Loyal and widespread community support throughout Fajardo's tenure has fueled the growth in HPR's services and bolstered its financial stability—HPR remains debt-free, has $4 million in reserves and a $7 million endowment fund.

“I’ve been fortunate to have enjoyed a four-decade career in radio, my dream job since I was 8 years old,” Fajardo says. “Along the way, I’ve been privileged to serve in varied and progressively challenging roles. Without question, my role at HPR, and working alongside such a passionate and talented team, has been the most fulfilling. With a strong team and steadfast community financial support, the community can look forward to the sustained excellence and integrity of this service and to its continued development and growth.”

Kathryn Matayoshi, HPR Board Chair, writes: “José’s passion for public radio; his deep experience and expertise; his strategic mind; his dedication to the development of the HPR staff and an environment of caring, teamwork and commitment to community, have elevated the caliber of HPR’s services. He has shaped HPR into the ‘go-to’ place for trusted news; expanded coverage of local news, stories and culture; and music that soothes and intrigues. José has put his heart and soul into HPR. His many contributions as a wonderful leader and human being are and will be enjoyed by HPR listeners today—and into the future.” 
Joe Uno, Vice Chair of HPR’s Board, states: “So rare is the opportunity to meet and work with someone like José. His leadership, knowledge and vision are second to none, and I am humbled and deeply appreciative of the time that I have spent with him. His legacy and impact on our beloved HPR will always be present.”

Francis S. Oda, who served as HPR’s Board Chair during the pandemic, writes: “Extraordinary! Inspirational! Visionary! These are all apt descriptions of José Fajardo. Yet, they don’t adequately capture the true essence of his leadership of Hawai‘i Public Radio. He has established a solid foundation of financial support for the stations and a heart-to-heart relationship with all who treasure Hawai‘i Public Radio. Thank you, José!”

Before joining HPR in 2016, Fajardo was Executive Vice President for the Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce. He was also President & CEO of WMFE-TV/FM, the member-supported public broadcasting stations for Central Florida, where he served in various roles over 16 years. Fajardo's broadcast career started in Central Texas, where he worked for three years in commercial radio before joining KNCT-TV/FM, the public broadcasting stations located in Killeen, Texas. Fajardo has also served two terms on the Board of Directors for NPR, and one term on the Board of the Association of Public Television Stations. In 2022, Fajardo received a national leadership award from the Public Radio Regional Organization for his contributions to the field.

Fajardo has been public about his battle with ALS since his diagnosis in 2021. During HPR’s The Conversation
last October, Fajardo said: “I'm a very optimistic person. I haven't let this disease define me. I don't sit in the corner, you know, depressed. I still enjoy life.”

Fajardo’s plans after his departure from HPR are undetermined. He and his wife Jennifer plan to continue posting updates on his personal blog,

About Hawaii Public Radio
HPR is a private, non-profit organization which broadcasts classical, jazz, and international music; and in-depth news and informational programming from National Public Radio, Public Radio International, and other local, national, and international program sources, as well as programs produced by Hawaii Public Radio. In 2013, Charity Navigator, the premier charity evaluator, awarded HPR its second consecutive highest, four-star rating for sound fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency.

HPR's mission is to serve the entire population of the state of Hawai‘i with two excellent program streams. HPR-1, the news magazine and fine arts stream, can currently be heard on O‘ahu and Kaua‘i (KHPR 88.1 FM and 88.5 FM); Maui, Moloka‘i, Lana‘i, and West Hawai‘i (KKUA 90.7 FM); and East Hawai‘i (KANO 91.1 FM (Hilo) and 94.7 FM (Waimea)). HPR-2, the news, local talk, and music stream, is found on Maui, Moloka‘i, Lana‘i (KIPM 89.7 FM and KIPH 88.3 FM (Hana)); West Hawai‘i (KIPM 89.7 FM and KHPH 88.7 FM); O‘ahu and Kaua‘i (KIPO 89.3 FM; KIPL 89.9 FM).

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