Aaron Leiker’s new company 25-7 Media is purchasing KLMR AM & FM in Lamar, Colorado, and KBLJ-AM and KTHN-FM in La Junta, Colorado, from Cherry Creek Radio. It’s Leiker’s first foray into ownership although he’s been hooked on radio since he was a freshman in high school. We wanted to know why this 35-year-old jumped into radio ownership when all we hear about these days is how younger people are only interested in digital. So we asked him.
Radio Ink: What is 25-7 Media?
Aaron Leiker: 25-7 Media is a completely new media endeavor. The name of the company stems from what every successful broadcaster knows — you are always working to insure you are serving your listeners and clients. So, as my wife put it, we are working 25 hours a day, seven days a week. We are always working overtime. Thus, the name of the company was established.
Radio Ink: Tell us about Aaron Leiker. What is your background?
Aaron Leiker: I started in radio as a freshman in high school. As my first employer Larry Bauer tells the story, he couldn’t get me out of the studio. I was hooked. I worked for Bauer at KVAY through high school and during breaks in college. My bachelor’s is in electronic journalism from Kansas State. As an undergraduate, I was thoroughly involved with KSDB, the student-run station. I couldn’t get enough of Manhattan, so I decided to enter graduate school with an emphasis in broadcast management. In graduate school, I served as the general manager and faculty adviser of KSDB. This was a great experience and allowed me to help 100-plus students each semester foster a love of broadcasting. At this same time, I took on the role as the morning show host of Manhattan Broadcasting Company’s news-talk station KMAN. After completion of graduate coursework, I became program director of KMAN in 2007. In 2011, my then-fiancé and I decided we were going to move to my hometown and help on the my family’s farm. As any broadcaster will tell you, once broadcasting is in your blood it never leaves. In 2015, I was given an opportunity to return to the station I worked for in high school, Beacon Broadcasting’s KVAY, as the operations manager. After a few years at KVAY, this endeavor is the next challenge.
Radio Ink: You are purchasing four radio stations from Cherry Creek. Why are you getting into radio ownership?
Aaron Leiker: Broadcast ownership was always a goal of mine. I didn’t expect it to be happening at 35 years old. These stations serve my hometown and the surrounding areas. I grew up listening to two of them regularly. When the opportunity presented itself to purchase them, it seemed only natural that my wife and I take that step. In an age of large media companies, I am excited to return these stations to local ownership. Regarding financing, the benefit of being local and wanting to operate the stations locally is that the local community supports your efforts. That is the beauty of operating a small business in a tight-knit community.
Radio Ink: Do you plan any changes at the stations?
Aaron Leiker: The vision is to create as much local content as possible. Outside of local morning shows, these stations have long been 24-7 satellite feed. I have always been an advocate for doing everything locally. Listeners can expect to hear from people in their communities throughout each day. All programming decisions are going to center around what we can do locally for the communities in Southeast Colorado.
Radio Ink: Why are you a believer in radio?
Aaron Leiker: Radio is the true mass communicator. Radio has the ability to inform, entertain, and provide for communities at any given moment our listeners desire. Radio also has the ability to be hyper-local. As broadcasters, we are called to serve the public. Radio does this day in and day out. Also, radio has a unique ability to create genuine relationships with our communities.
Radio Ink: Anything you would like to say to your new colleagues in the radio industry?
Aaron Leiker: In an age where it is popular to pull up stakes and consolidate, I am a true believer that radio’s success and longevity will always remain with staying local, serving communities, and interacting with listeners.
KALIL & Company was the exclusive broker for the 25-7/Cherry Creek transaction.
Reach out to Aaron and congratulate him on his first purchase at [email protected]