HONOLULU (KHON2) — I hope you’re having a pleasant evening.
The words of legendary Hawaii broadcaster Robert Kekaula will live long after his sudden passing Saturday morning.
Kekaula’s television boradcasting career in Hawaii began in 1987, working at KGMB and KHNL, but mostly for KITV as their sports director and news anchor.
There, his unique delivery gained the love of Hawaii.
“There will never be another Robert Kekaula,” his former weekend sports anchor Rob DeMello said.
“He was so unique and when you look at when I was growing up wanting to be a sportscaster I had the luxury of turning the news on every night and there being a local boy, a Hawaiian on the desk that was just 100% Hawaii. and he didn’t change the way he talk he didn’t change the way he acted,”
Those he took under his wing went on to great success, like Hawaii’s Neil Everett, now a lead anchor for ESPN’s SportsCenter.
“Robert helped raise me, and for that I am forever grateful. I loved that guy.” Everett said.
Kekaula was the voice for the University of Hawaii football team for Spectrum Sports.
“When you’re with Robert Kekaula everything is brighter everything is larger than life the persona rubbed off on everyone whether it was his aloha shirt his voice his all of that stuff that represents Polynesia,” Spectrum Sports color commentator Rich Miano said.
Kekaula’s Aloha attire and way of speaking were uniquely…Robert. Perhaps more so than anybody else, he was unapologetically himself.
“Robert Kekaula was one of the apparently most intimidating people in Hawaii that anybody knew and yet he had the biggest heart was the best friend to so many people,” former broadcast partner Bobby Curran said.
He was also a great musician, releasing three albums as an artist. His record label A Guava Ding Thing released hits like Mana’o Company’s Spread A Little Aloha.
“You could stereotype him as being just this big braddah guy but his artistry came from a place that had heart, that had sensitivity, that I think you could see in the way he delivered himself as a sports broadcaster and as a musician you could tell he had a true undeniable affection for this place and for its people,” former KITV colleague Kanoa Leahey said.
Robert Kekaula was 56 years old.
Friends, colleagues, mentees and faraway fans all paid their respects on social media and shared fond memories of Kekaula’s larger than life personality and gall.
All the latest sports news from Hawaii’s sports station