The Road to Hana and a Blackberry

August 3, 2007

I’ve been writing this Blog now for nearly three years. Over a thousand stations have made the move to digital broadcasting and 817 are now multicasting. In that time, Disney launched the first assault on local broadcasting by putting Desperate Housewives and LOST on iTunes. FOX put what felt like all of their programming on MySpace and CBS came and went with Innertube. Conventional wisdom would say they’ll be back. NBC is purportedly doing something though that something has yet to get a name. How about NaBooTube? Works for me.

The thing that hasn’t changed in that time is that we are all somewhere. We are all from somewhere and we all are, most likely, going to go somewhere. You see, in the world I live and the world you live, local matters. We are all somewhere.

This week my family and I came back on our nearly annual trek to Maui. I say nearly, because last year we deviated a bit and went to Oahu. I guess we missed Maui. For us, Maui is where it is at. I was thinking about the importance of local content at 5:30 AM yesterday when I banged on the door to rouse my daughters’ boyfriend Jay. If he wanted to take The Road to Hana, then he had to get up early and go with me…just me. If he can survive the ride with me then maybe…

If you’ve been to Maui, then you know The Road to Hana. If you are really hardcore then you know the road beyond the road to Hana. You sign a release that states “you will not take a rental car beyond this point…” I’ve done it several times. It is intense, fun, exhilarating, and a totally crazy thing to try. Imagine this: You are driving a car on the balcony of a 50 story building and that balcony is only 8 feet wide. You make 180 degree turns (switchbacks) and there are no guardrails on your balcony.

For me venturing to Hana has become a pilgrimage because it feels like time travel. I am fascinated with time travel. I may have been the only guy in the Quantum Leap fan club in the 90’s. Along the way to Hana it is not uncommon to see homes without windows or electricity. Venturing to Hana and beyond is like traveling to a part of the world which is untouched by hustle and bustle and is far away from technology. I love it.

We got to Hana in record time. Jay seemed a tad bit queasy, though he’ll never admit it. That is OK. Perhaps it is part of the test. Venturing beyond Hana I start talking about how we’ve now crossed into another time. I start talking about how people don’t have televisions here and that it is a different way of life. I like it. I start laying the groundwork for getting Jay ready to venture off the road and into places we aren’t supposed to go. I use my infinite wisdom to explain to him why the warning signs stating you should turn around don’t apply to him and me.

The road is even more beautiful beyond Hana. We’re getting pretty excited about circumnavigating the entire island in a minivan. Both of us are psyched. Then my mobile phone rings. At first it didn’t seem possible. Then it kept ringing. My reverie about history long past was broken by a phone ringing. How could that be? We’re well beyond Hana. Reluctantly, I answered it. On the other end was my wife. Was I aware that an earthquake had taken out the road beyond Hana? No. How is it you called me here? I dialed your number, she said. I’m four hours into a six hour drive, I said. Too bad, she said. There is no road beyond the Sacred Pools. Turn around. I turned around. The last place on earth has been touched by technology. I pulled over and started answering emails.