Saturday, August 29, 2015

Eliot Keller, co-founder and General Manager of Z102.9, KZIA, died on December 28th, 2009 of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

In 1974, Eliot Keller unknowingly started what became one of the most prolific local broadcasting careers the radio industry has seen.  With partner Rob Norton, Eliot continually raised the bar as to what it meant to serve the public interest from a little room with a handful of records and a microphone.

If you were lucky enough to know or work with him, the public service side of Eliot Keller was always inspirational.  He was a powerful voice in the radio industry and in the local community he worked so hard to serve.

This public service, important as it is, was never the reason you looked forward to spending time with Eliot.  He always had a knack of making you feel that none of the work was as important as you are.

Knowing that the radio broadcasting industry and our community as a whole has lost a natural leader, we will miss the man.  With one of the most infectious smiles and a giggle that was all Eliot, his warmth as a father, husband, partner, manager and friend will be missed most of all.


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It's all about the listeners
Last Post 12-30-2009 05:29 by I'm Mel. 0 Replies.
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I'm Mel

12-30-2009 05:29 DeleteDelete EditEdit QuoteQuote ReplyReply  
I was lucky to work at KRNA and with Eliot on three different occasions. I began in the fall of 1975 as the overnight jock. I vividly remember my second or third night on the job. As I was still commuting from the Quad Cities, I arrived at the station a few minutes after midnight. Waiting for me upon my arrival was Eliot. What the heck is the GM of the station doing at work at midnight?

When we met he said that I had let our listeners down. They expected certain things from their radio station and saying "I'm Mel" at the top of the hour ID was one of them. Consistency was a trait that I learned from Eliot. Needless to say, I was not late to work (at least not during my on-air days)for the remainder of my first term of employment.

I left after 8 months for 2 reasons. After 4 raises I was up to $125 a week...and I was offered a job managing a clothing store back in the Quad Cities. I clearly remember Eliot's staff departure memo which said..."schmatta (yiddish for the clothing business) isn't radio".

My second "shift" was during the summer of '77. I did a news stint 5 days a week during the summer while attending school until...yes, I was offered a job in Des Moines working at a clothing store. There seems to be a theme here?

The real job came in 1986 when I joined the sales team after leaving KKRQ. That was the pinnacle of what radio was and should be all about. From Eliot and Rob to Kelch and Those Guys; to Champ and Gidge and Dirk and Mr. Magic; Uncle Bob and Koz, Al and even JJ. - the list is endless. All passionate radio folk who got their energy from Eliot. The Ying to Rob's Yang. We were all students learning from a great teacher who cared about us, the listeners, the community and it's advertisers and KRNA, his other child.

I will think about his memo's, the "Train to the Game", the cookouts...and more. Many of his former KRNA employees are still friends to this day. A testamant to Eliot and the folks that he hired.

So, to Sandy and Nicole and Sharon and the rest of the family...enjoy the great memories as you more forward with your lives. And yes, we should get together and share these great memories so that Eliot continues to live among us.

By the way...I'm out of radio and back in the "schmatta" business!

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