MYPC Q&A: Chaz Mihara, the future of Hawaii sports broadcasting

Apr 11, 2012 | PC Sports


Pearl City High School senior Chaz Mihara has set a goal to become the next generation of sports broadcasting talent to grace the airwaves in Hawaii and maybe even beyond to an even bigger stage as he gains experience. Mihara is motivated. He has taken advantage of every opportunity that has come his way in his quest to get behind the microphone and television camera.

At Pearl City High School, Mihara is a Charger through and through. He is well liked and always ready to help those in need. Today, in the world of high school sports, student/ student athletes play an important role in supporting their athletic departments by helping out as team managers, scorekeepers, timers, referees, etc. Mihara is one of those individuals that does all of the above as well as serve as the PA announcer for boys and girls basketball. He is also proud of his accomplishments as a team manager for the Boy’s Basketball team, Girls Volleyball team and the 2012 OIA Championship Girls Basketball team.

He is also a member of the Chargers Varsity Boys Volleyball team, who as of this writing had just defeated Farrington in the first round of the OIA Championship Playoffs.

The love for sports broadcasting started at an early age after an opportunity to take part in a promotion called Kids in Control at a University of Hawaii Rainbow Baseball game. He was chosen to announce the player’s names and work the scoreboard.

As a part of the “Center for Tomorrow’s Leaders” program, which is offered to public and private high school students who are interested in learning the skills of becoming a good leader, Mihara was given the opportunity to speak with fifteen of Hawaii’s top leaders to hear their stories and learn from the best.

Mihara is also a member of  the Stadium Stars volunteer broadcasting team that broadcast Hawaii high school football games played at Aloha Stadium. It’s a mentoring program that allows those interested in becoming a sports broadcaster the opportunity to learn to be a play by play announcer and color analyst. Aloha Stadium is the only stadium in the country that offers such a program for free.

The Stadium Stars program also led to an opportunity to learn alongside Hawaii’s legendary sports broadcaster Jim Leahey. Mr. Leahey is mentoring Mihara as he works on his senior project which he has chosen sports broadcasting as his field of interest.

What impressed me the most while conducting the following interview with Chaz Mihara was his genuine personality and friendly spirit. He is grateful for what has been given to him and is quick to thank those who have guided him along the way and continue to support him as he works towards his goals. would like to wish him all the best and is really looking forward to saying, “I know Chaz,” as he becomes a big star in the near future!

                                                       Photo by Barry Villamil |

Q: What are your most immediate goals as you move towards graduating from Pearl City High School?

A:  I’m trying to get my name out there and just keeping up the grades because to me that’s important. I want to go to college and getting a good education will help get me there. I’m really trying to focus hard in my senior year to keep up the grades.

Q: Where do you plan to attend college?

A: I would like to stay here. I haven’t made a commitment yet, but I would like to stay here.

Q: What made you decide to become a team manager?

A: The funny thing is that I wasn’t planning on being a manager. I got picked up. I wanted to help out my first year coach when I was a freshman. I just started from there. He asked if I wanted to help and I said sure. I started with the junior varsity and in my sophomore and junior years I moved up to varsity. Just recently in my senior year, one of the basketball coaches for the girls knew that I was a manager and once girl’s volleyball was over he asked if I wanted to be a manager for basketball.

Q: Was it difficult to make the transition from managing different sports?

A: I didn’t know anything about basketball. I don’t play basketball, and I don’t know how to do all this kind of stuff. I was a kind of hesitant at first. My friend Luke Motoyama who is a junior committed to help so it made it easier for me to help too. The first time we came out it was hard because you have to know all the girls and take stats for them. It was really a stretch for me because I had never done that before, but now I can say it wasn’t that bad. I learned so much. It was a good step choosing to be a manager.

Q: How about your first sports broadcasting experience as a kid?

A: I think it started when I was in fifth grade. I kind of got lucky because there was this promotion that University of Hawaii Athletics had that was during the Rainbow baseball season. It was called Kids in Control. It was a night where kids would be at Les Murakami Stadium and they would have a chance to go around the stadium and announce the players and get to do the scoreboard, all that kind of stuff. For some reason I got lucky that I had a chance because my dad put me in. I got a chance to go on television and talk with Jim Leahey. When I was little at that time I used to always record the games. I would always talk about it and I knew all the players back then. I actually posted the video online of the inning that I had with Jim Leahey. That was really cool. That’s what really triggered me to get into sports broadcasting because I just love sports and now that I had a chance to do it, I found out that I really liked it.

Q: How did you get started in your in PA announcing career at Charger home games?

A: Just last year, I went to ask the boys basketball coach Lionel Villarmia if they have any PA announcers that announce at the games and he said no, we don’t. So I asked if he would mind if I do the PA?  He said sure, you will be first one who ever did it. I thought that was pretty cool.

Q: What do you enjoy most, PA announcing or sports broadcasting?

A: The thing is I like both, but they’re very different. They’re similar in a way because it’s all related to sports but it’s very different. In sports broadcasting you don’t have to pronounce it as to make it clear because there’s a microphone right by you. As a PA announcer you have to expand your voice and talk from your diaphragm so people can understand you. So, there’s a big difference between the two. Sometimes it’s hard because you have to flip the switch. I like both. To me, it’s just another stepping stone that I need to take to get that job. I’m excited to be doing that.

Q: Are you interested in continuing as a PA announcer at Pearl City High School Charger games?

A: Hopefully I get a chance to come back and do some more games for them. I really enjoy doing it. Pretty much why I do it is because I want to give the fans, and you know all the parents, that feeling like its high school. It’s a sport like instead of just guys shooting baskets or making points I want them to get that feeling of all the drama and all the excitement that their names are being called like during the starting line ups. I want them to feel that we’re doing something special here.

Q: Latest PA announcing opportunity to get behind the mic?

A: I asked if I could do volleyball for senior night. This is my fourth year doing senior night. It's exciting because I grew up with the players too. I would just like to give back to them.

Q: How about your experience at Hawaii News Now?

A: At first, when I got the chance to go on Hawaii News Now it was through a program that I’m in called “Center for Tomorrow’s Leaders”. It’s for public and private school students who are trying to become a leader. It’s just a great opportunity and I’m so glad that I did it. At first I was kind a late in turning in my application. I wasn’t sure I was going to be accepted.

Q: What was it like being in the company of some of Hawaii’s most successful leaders?

A: I had no idea that we were going to meet all these different leaders and learn what they do, but when we got more into it, we got a chance to talk to fifteen different leaders in three days. I was like whoa!

Q: Who were some of the leaders that you got the chance to meet and learn from in those three days?

A: Don Horner, the former CEO of First Hawaiian Bank. We got to talk to Kim Gennaula, and Francis Oda who is a pastor. There were so many leader’s, it’s hard to name them all. They taught us a lot. One thing that I can take away, that I really enjoyed and will probably keep by my side my whole life is what Don Horner told us, he said, “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” He is so humble. He’s in this beautiful glass windowed office looking down at Hawaii and for him to tell us that, it’s just amazing. It just goes to tell you what kind of person and leader he is.

We also had a chance to meet with the CEO of Hawaii News Now. He talked about all his struggles and what made him be a better leader. He spoke about the time of the Tsunami threat and how really close their offices were to where it was supposed to hit. He was worried about how they were going to get the people informed about this with it being so close. It was so cool what he said. He told us that every single employee there said they weren’t going to leave him. They were going stay, and if the Tsunami hit them, it hit them. They wanted to make sure the people knew what was happening.

Q: How about your experience broadcasting high school football games with the Stadium Stars at Aloha Stadium and having Jim Leahey as a mentor?

A: Stadium Stars is a great program. I get the chance to broadcast games. I’m really excited to go back next year. I really enjoy it. This was my first year. I wish I had done it earlier. One of my friends who knows Jim Leahey is in the Stadium Stars program with me. He knows Jim from working together at ESPN radio. I told him I was trying to get Jim as a mentor. I asked if he would introduce me to Jim for an interview and he said sure. I got to hang out in the studio and listen in to the show. That’s how it all got started. I stuck it out. This is my senior project, sports broadcasting.  It’s a tough project because there’s so many elements that they want you to complete. Jim and I are still working on the mentoring process. There’s a lot of stuff that he has taught me and I still want to learn more.

Q: Dream sports broadcasting job?

A: My dream job would be either to be on OC Sports, calling University of Hawaii games and doing high school sports. That’s what I want to do. When I do get to that point, and hopefully I get to that point, I’ll be humbled and say I worked hard for this and this is what I really wanted to do. I’m here, and I made it. For now, I’m still in the learning process. I think I will forever be in the learning process. The game is always changing. Its amazing how technology has come upon us.

Q: Anybody that you would like to thank for getting you to where you are today?

A: First I would like to thank my parents because they really helped me stay on track all the time. That’s why I’m saying to you what I’m saying right now is that they really stressed the grades. How important it is. So, pretty much my main focus is just trying to keep the grades up. That’s how important it is to them, and that’s why they made it so important to me. I would like to thank my parents, the both of them. I love them dearly.

I would also like to thank my teachers. I thank them for not giving up on me. Thank you to the teachers and the staff for all their support. Just recently I’ve been talking with Principal Fujimoto. I’ve seen her at the games. She always tells me good job during every single game. I really appreciate her comments because that’s what I’m there for. I’m just trying to give back.

One key person I would like to thank is Athletic Director Reid Shigemasa. He’s done a lot. He actually gave me the opportunity to announce at the basketball games. He taught me how to set up the mics and all that kind of stuff. I really want to thank him because he really gave me the opportunity to get me this much further in reaching my dream as a sports broadcaster.

I love what I do. I’m just so grateful for everything. In a nutshell it’s just hard to narrow it down to one person. I want to thank everybody because they’re the ones that got me here. Thank you for the opportunity.

                                                                                  Photo courtesy of Chaz Mihara

Chaz on the Hawaii Now news set looking like a pro!

                                                       Photo by Barry Villamil |

Chaz (left) pictured keeping stats during a Lady Chargers varsity girls basketball game. Co-team manager Luke Motoyama (center) is also a teammate of Mihara on the 2012 Chargers Boys Varsity Volleyball team. Chargers Athletic Trainer Kim Imamoto looks on.

                                                       Photo by Barry Villamil |

Chaz gets ready to serve in the opening round of the OIA Red Division Varsity Boys Volleyball Playoffs against the Farrington Governors won by the Chargers 25-11, 25-16, 25-10 on Tuesday, April 10, 2012 at Pearl City High School.

                                                       Photo by Barry Villamil |

Chaz pictured with his Pearl City teammates during an OIA Red Western Division regular season match up against the Waipahu Marauders won by the Chargers on March 28, 2012 at Leilehua High School.