The Hawai‘i Academy of Recording Arts (HARA) and Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards trace their origins to 1978 and KCCN-AM Radio, then the world’s only all-Hawaiian music radio station.
Conceived as a radio station promotion by Krash Kealoha (Victor ‘Ōpiopio), legendary deejay, program director and driving creative force behind KCCN-AM, in Nā Hōkū Hanohano (The Stars of Distinction), Kealoha envisioned a formal recognition and celebration of recorded musical excellence in Hawai‘i—so long ignored by mainland awards programs.
Kealoha—with the support of KCCN owner Sydney Grayson and Kealoha’s original deejay team including Kimo Kaho‘āno and Jacqueline “Skylark” Rossetti—launched the first Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards presentation in 1978.
As no organized “academy of artists” yet existed among Hawaii ’s musicians—the role HARA would come to play —the earliest awards were determined by public vote.
By 1982, Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards evolved into an industry awards ceremony administered by recording professionals. The Hawai‘i Academy of Recording Arts was patterned after the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (also referred to as NARAS or the Recording Academy), which produces the Grammy Awards. Each year the Hawai‘i Academy produces a live television broadcast of the Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards honoring the achievements of excellence in the recording arts. It has become the biggest annual entertainment event in Hawai‘i. Commercially available recordings created, produced, and/or engineered and primarily distributed in Hawai‘i are accepted for nomination.