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HPU alive in Pac West

by Kalamalama staff

 

Wondering which current HPU student has the coolest job?

It may be Kanoa Leahey, grandson of legendary Hawai‘i sports broadcasting pioneer Chuck Leahey and son of the current television voice of the UH Warriors, Jim Leahey. In 2000, Kanoa used his experience broadcasting Sea Warrior games to score a job as a sports reporter at KITV 4 News.

 

He got this dream job, he said, “because of all the experience that I was getting at HPU, all the on-air experience in sports and interviewing people.” Leahey added: “To break into this business (people) have to intern. For me, in a way, (calling the Sea Warrior games) was indirectly my internship on T.V.”

Leahey’s busy schedule will not allow him to get his BA (in communication with a concentration in journalism) from HPU until fall ’05. Especially as he was recently promoted to the weekend sports anchor position at KITV.

A 1995 graduate of Iolani, where he got his first broadcast experience, Leahey attended UH-Manoa for two years. He was doing radio on the side when HPU, looking to get its baseball games back on the air, hired him to braodcast a 10-game package. In the offseason, President Chatt Wright offered Leahey a full scholarship to attend HPU and to do all the radio broadcasts. Leahey transferred to HPU at the beginning of his third year of college. The radio work led to Sea Warrior television broadcasts. “that was my big break,” said Leahey. “It was the opportunity to do HPU (broadcasts) and be affiliated with that school.”

At 19, Leahey was promoted as the voice of HPU. “That was about as good as it could get.” Leahey’s first broadcasting experience came at 17, doing play-by-play of girl’s high school basketball games for radio while attending Iolani.

“It was just kind of a fluke thing, they were looking for cheap talent,” he said. “I think they just assumed that because I was Jim Leahey’s son I’d know all about broadcasting, and I’d be able to pull it off, no problem.” “I fell in love with it. It was the next best thing to playing the game. It was another way to feel the exhilaration, feel the excitement. And the challenge of it,” Leahey added, “ was to try to deliver the excitement to the people listening.”

Practically growing up in a broadcast booth, Leahey never had serious plans of pursuing the career his father and grandfather shared. “I never thought I would go into it until I actually started doing it. It was something that a lot of people assume, now that things have worked out the way they have, that my father sort of took me under his wing and coached me into this. That it was a whole educational thing; it was meant for me to do. But it was never like that. It was something I never thought I would get into.”

Leahey had plans to play college basketball, but injuries to both knees his junior and senior year ended any hopes. After the second knee injury, he considered entering the medical field. “Physical therapy, because of all the knee problems that I ran into, was something that I was getting interested in… I was trying to read into it and say ‘O.K. now that I have blown out my knees in separate years, that must be my calling… that’s what I thought I was going to study in college before all this came about.”

After his second year at HPU, Channel 4 hired Leahey. He took some time off before returning to take classes at HPU this past summer. His full-time schedule at KITV allows him to take one class per semester.

 

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