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
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.