History of Leighton Broadcasting

Over the past six decades, media in the United States has undergone a remarkable revolution. During that time, media, marketing, and advertising verticals experienced more change and upheaval than the industry had seen since the introduction of the printing press. Leighton Broadcasting traces its roots to owner and founder Al Leighton's purchase of KDLM AM in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota.

Al Leighton was the son of farmers from Elk River and served his country during World War II. Leighton, a pioneering broadcaster, started in the radio industry in 1963. His desire to be on the radio kept the fire burning in his soul, and helped drive innovation in his mind. Leighton helped transform the airwaves in Minnesota with the purchase of St. Cloud's KFAM AM and FM stations in 1975. He brought the first Top-40 platform to the area, and KCLD remains a legend in the Upper Midwest today. Leighton went on to own radio stations in Iowa, Texas, and North Dakota, including Grand Forks' legendary KYCK country station.




Under Leighton's guidance, the company was able to grow and successfully adapt as the market changed. Leighton Broadcasting expanded over the decades to bring new businesses into the fold that not only incorporated digital marketing and advertising, but also helped the company offer customers full-service branding.

For example, Leighton Interactive (our inbound-marketing arm) was formed in 2010 with just three employees. The company started with website development and production duties for Leighton radio stations. Today, Leighton Interactive has more than twenty full-time employees offering comprehensive marketing services that include copywriting, SEO, SEM, social-media management, and more. The group merged with Leighton Broadcasting to create a broad-based business capable of offering business all the marketing and branding services needed, in one place.

As the digital revolution continues to challenge traditional marketing and advertising ideas, Leighton Broadcasting retains its status as an innovative force in the market. Although we said goodbye to Al after he passed away peacefully at his home on June 28, 2012, his insight and dedication to the art of broadcasting remain with us today as the foundation of our business.

The company marches on into the future with his son, Bob Leighton, guiding the business as it continues to innovate and expand. In August of 2015, Leighton Enterprises added radio stations from Winona, MN, Fergus Falls, MN, and Perham, MN, to the Leighton Broadcasting group.  The current CEO of Leighton Enterprises, Bob, is the best person to sum up the heart, soul, and history of Leighton Broadcasting:

"From a small farm in Elk River to enlisting in World War II, to raising a family of nine and building a broadcasting business from nothing but a dream, our dad lived the American dream. He was truly one from the greatest generation."

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