The Lion in Jim Bryan

Limelight has been somewhere near Jim Bryan all his adult life.

A 30-year veteran of the radio, television and film industries, he is executive producer of Nighttime, Hawaii’s first nightly talk show, hosted by comedian Andy Bumatai.

The show’s growth in production quality and live audience demand since its Aug. 6 debut netted an invitation to relocate tapings from the Honolulu Design Center furniture store to the much larger Tropics Showroom at Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort & Spa in September.

Not always in the limelight, he has never been far away. Bryan was managing a radio station cluster in Denver when offered a similar gig in Hawaii, and the thought process was simple – after “three or four blizzards, that’s not a bad move,” he said.

Bryan and his wife arrived in Hawaii in 2000, after Y2K proved itself a colossal nonevent.

He oversaw local stations owned by one group and wound up lured to and signing employment deals with two others on the same Friday. Bryan was in the limelight then, profiled in the July 1999 Radio Ink magazine naming the industry’s 40 most influential people.

He wasn’t among the 40, but “they featured me in that issue … and everybody was thinking I was one,” he said.

Monday morning he reported to New Wave Broadcasting LP and helped launch KDDB-FM 102.7 “Da Bomb.” The other two groups got over it, and Bryan left before the $11 million sale of New Wave’s stations.

His Hawaii move also facilitated time for screenwriting, whether developing material or doctoring others’ scripts as a ghostwriter.

“I get my check, they get the credit. That’s fine with me,” he said.

While serving HOBY, the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership nonprofit organization in Hawaii, Bryan sought and got volunteer help from the Hawaii Lions and was invited to join. He has been a Kamehameha Lions Club member for about five years because of a movie poster in his office.

OK, maybe not because of it, but the 1950s movie Magnificent Obsession always inspired him, he said. In the movie, Rock Hudson plays a spoiled rich kid who causes Jane Wyman’s character to go blind. He strives for redemption by serving her publicly until he is counseled that, “you’ve got to do something so that nobody knows,” Bryan said.

Lions don’t seek limelight. “I was reluctant to do the interview because I don’t want to cheapen the effort … I just need to know that I’m helping,” Bryan said.

Hawaii Lions’ largely unheralded service includes, “You name it. Cleaning the Pali Highway, serving breakfast to the elderly,” helping after natural disasters or assisting the blind, a global Lions mission.

According to Bryan, “What impressed me so much is that it’s all-volunteer. Nobody gets paid … (we’re) not there to promote business or make money off fellow Lions, and that’s what I like. There’s no politicking, no politics or religion.”

He compares working with “whiny actors or actresses” in the r-e-e-l world, to working with Lions in the r-e-a-l world.

Many philanthropists are wealthy, “but you don’t need to have that huge bank account in order to give back,” he said. If one gives time and effort “until it hurts,” and winds up thinking, ‘Wow, I don’t have a free minute for myself,’ then you know you’re doing enough,” Bryan said.

1 Comment

  1. by bill jones on July 4, 2008  3:19 pm

    I hope you remember me, Bill Jones, News Director at 710 KNUS. I Interviewed for a job with you and Carol back in ‘99 when I was still part time at KOA. I also interviewed you after the earthquake in Hawaii about two years ago.

    I understand you’ve done some screenwriting, and I’m writing to ask for your help and/or advice.

    I’ve written a short story called “Asteroid Planet of the Ancelestials.” It’s Science Fiction based in science fact. It details how the Ancelestials blew up their home planet, creating the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter in the process, and how their descendants may be on the same doomsday path here on Earth today.

    I’m wondering if you know anyone in the screenwriting business I should send a query letter to…or if you might want to read the 36-page script yourself and give me some feedback.

    Hope to hear from you soon — one way or the other.

    Bill Jones

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