Funny Lady Of The Airwaves
Many know her as co-host of Bolohead & Babes Show, but radio personality Ka‘ea Lyons’ reach extends far beyond the Big Island, touching the hearts and lives of people as far away as Japan.
It’s still dark outside each morning when radio personality Ka‘ea Lyons arrives for work at KAPA-FM radio station, known as the “home of Hawai‘i’s music.” Tucked inside the first floor of the Lagoon Tower at Royal Kona Resort in historic Kailua Village, the station is just steps away from where her mother used to put on lū‘au shows when Lyons was growing up in Kona.
For Lyons, 46, sharing Hawaiian culture is in her DNA.
As Lyons takes the mic for the weekday morning show from 6 to 10, she is joined by co-host Jaz Kaiwiko‘o Yglesias. Partners onair and off, the duo keeps listeners across the Big Island entertained with their comedic banter about everything from relationships, food and music, to island life and hot topics of the day. Their Bolo-head & Babes Show includes musical guests, spirited conversation, interviews and top hits of Hawaiian music.
“Jaz and I talk about things honestly and for real, and we even have disagreements on-air,” says Lyons, who was paired with the longtime DJ in 2011 because management recognized their potential chemistry. “Jaz allowed me to help make KAPA relevant to Hawaiian language and so much more. We were able to enlighten and enhance the Hawaiian culture through the radio waves.”
Lyons was new to radio 15 years ago when she began hosting her Hawaiian language show on KAPA on Sundays. After two years of the popular show, she was offered a weekend morning shift, followed by weeknight, afternoon and midday shifts.
Bolohead & Babes Show took her talent to the next level when she came onboard full time at the station. Her quick wit and one-liners make her a favorite with early morning commuters.
“I enjoy bringing laughter to someone who may be having a bad day,” she says. “I also love sharing the latest releases of Hawaiian music. KAPA-FM is the definitive Hawaiian music station and is for all people. You might not know what is being said in Hawaiian, but you can feel it.”
Lyons wears many hats. In addition to being a radio host, she is a Hawaiian language teacher, a kumu hula, and a sought-after emcee for events like the annual King Kamehameha Day Celebration in Kailua-Kona, E Mau Ana Ka Hula Keiki Hula Competition in Hilo, and the Moku o Keawe International Hula Festival in Waikoloa. She is also a TV commentator at Merrie Monarch on Hō‘ike Night, and most recently presented the Female Vocalist of the Year award at this year’s Nā Hōkū Hanohono awards.
Teaching Hawaiian language to schoolchildren is her lifelong passion and proudest achievement. For 20 years, she taught at Punana Leo Hawaiian language preschools in Hilo and Kona, as well as at Ke Kula ‘o ‘Ehunuikaimalino School in Kealakekua. She is currently a Hawai‘i Life Styles instructor at Hawai‘i Community College–Palamanui.
Lyons entered the teaching profession after graduating from the College of Hawaiian Studies at UH Hilo, where she enrolled in the first-of-its-kind Hawaiian language immersion teachers’ certification program there, Kahuawaiola.
“I was working at a preschool as a teacher’s aide at the time and waited tables to pay for my school,” she recalls. “After my first year teaching in Hilo in 1998, I moved back to Kona to teach at the Hawaiian language school in Kealakekua from 1998 to 2011. Thanks to Hawaiian language immersion programs in Hawai‘i,