Leighton Broadcasting: Rising Through the Ranks

posted by Stephanie Theisen

Supporting the growth and empowerment of employees within Leighton Broadcasting is one of the very best parts of my job. This industry is hyper-focused on people - from the businesses who brand on the radio, to the listeners on the other end and everyone in between. The " in between" people sometimes seem to fade from the front lines as our business focuses on clients and listeners, but they couldn't shine any brighter. They're working hard to connect all the dots, execute all the strategies and keep our business moving in the right direction. I'll share a little news about two of those people, Allison Lightfield and Kelli Frieler and where they're headed.

Our Nashville Stars

That's right! These two young ladies have the opportunity of a lifetime later this month when they head to "Rising Through the Ranks," a women's radio management training seminar supported by the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB), Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) and Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio (MIW) group. This exclusive, vibrant program is dedicated to the support and advancement of women in radio sales management. 

From its website: "The Rising Through the Ranks program is designed for relatively recent and emerging managers and focuses on essential management techniques. The curriculum encompasses topics ranging from budgeting and forecasting to recruiting, hiring, and firing, to solving problems effectively to personal branding, and much more."

A Career in Radio, a Culture to Love

Kelli Frieler is an AE based in Fergus Falls. Though relatively new to radio, it's in her blood. She grew up in the medium, so to speak. Her family has always had a prominent role in broadcasting. After spending her early career in the auto industry, she said, "I grew up around radio; it was always present in my life. Yet, I wanted to do my own thing. Which I did for six years. When I was ready to challenge myself, I started looking for a new career. I met with both Bob [Leighton] and Steph and realized radio seemed like the right fit in terms of both culture and opportunity for that challenge I was seeking. Steph made me feel like I would always have someone to challenge me, and I would continue to grow."

Leighton Broadcasting Rising Through the Ranks

Kelli joined Leighton Broadcasting near the end of 2016. She added, "The part that interested me most was the opportunity to help small businesses grow, in communities Leighton Broadcasting is part of. These are the communities I grew up in. That's what I was most excited about - making a difference and fostering growth in those important areas."

Allison Lightfield has been with Leighton Broadcasting in St. Cloud for two-and-a-half years. She majored in Advertising and Public Relations at the University of South Dakota. It was at her summer internship at her hometown's radio station, KXLG in Watertown, SD that she fell in love with radio. "I loved being able to work with business owners and be so involved in the community. I just like the atmosphere radio stations have. They’re more fun, and so creative. I loved how open people were to ideas, and how everyone had a voice. There's just something special about this culture," Allison said.

She spent a few years at Radio FM Media in Fargo before calling St. Cloud home. She said, "I worked as a sales assistant, then was promoted to AE. It was exciting to learn radio from an operations standpoint. I knew, however, that in sales especially you have to be where you want to be long-term. You have to commit to the time it takes to create and maintain those relationships, to build great clientele over the years."

Rising Through the Ranks 

As a Rising Through the Ranks Alumni, I am thrilled to see two other bright women in our company have the opportunity to attend the RTTR workshop. The connections they will make and the confidence they will gain through this transformative three days will forever better their futures. Some of the topics covered might include:

  • The Role of Today's Radio Manager
  • Managing Multi-Generational Employees
  • Having Difficult Conversations
  • Budgeting and Forecasting
  • Managing Up and Down

Plus, the seminar also included classes specifically for women, such as:

  • Women in the Radio Workplace
  • Building Your Personal Brand
  • Open Discussions for Women in Management

Kelli added, "The cool part to me is I view this opportunity as another challenge I can use to carry through some of the core values of Leighton Broadcasting in terms of bettering myself. In turn, this will allow me to help our clients and communities, even more, even others on our team. I’m pumped to be able to experience this in Nashville of all places, with Allison! How great will it be on this journey with each other? When we come back, we can continue to push each other to follow through on things we learned and saw. To me, that’s why I came to Leighton [Broadcasting]. I was super excited about the culture here – and the idea of Hey - make yourself better each day."

Allison echoed the sentiment with, "I’m excited to learn not only from the presenters and speakers but from the women attending as well. I’m looking forward to learning what others face in their radio careers, what we might have in common, and growing my personal network. What things they do differently, or better. It will be fun bonding."

Shine bright ladies; I know you will. We are all so proud of you!

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