In 1974, Eliot Keller and Rob Norton crossed paths and discovered a similar passion-the power of radio. Through hard work, creativity, compromise, and a true under­standing of what it takes to think outside the box-they developed a unique business partner­ship that remains to this day-hence the birth of the company which now owns and operates Z102.9 and KGYM!

Local ownership may not seem like a big deal to some, but let us explain why it is. Our owners are a part of the community. They’re in the building with us everyday. Our management is tuned into what’s happening in the market from a local perspective and not halfway across the coun­try. No other commercial FM station in our market can say that! From HD Radio, to city bus boards, to toasting more than thirty years of local ownership, we set the bar for quality radio nation wide.

Another perk of local ownership? We’re here! That means your advertising dollar stays in our community, thus strengthening the growth of your business while our stations continue to serve the com­munity.

Contact us.


Z102.9 Circle

…You already know that radio is the best way to get your message out.  But why Z? With a bunch of stations out there with a “Pick me! Pick me!” complex-what makes Z so special?Let’s start with our sales team. To put it simply, we’re luckier than the other guys. Spoiled, even. We’re not stressed over making slick deals and pushing our “package of the week” in order to make a quota, while our sales manager dangles our jobs over our heads.The head honchos at Z get it-in order for our sales team to be successful, we need to understand what our clients need and how our station can help them talk to our listeners. We’re here to solve marketing problems for our clients. Through continued education in human behavior, consumer patterns, and marketing strategy, we can assist those businesses that have the desire to.Second, the station for which we sell. We’re fortunate to have a reputation that puts us at an (almost) unfair advantage our competitors can’t touch. Our local owners understand that in order to educate our clients about branding, we need to practice what we preach. We strive to make our presence known in the community as often as possible and in very big ways. Z102.9 vehicles, Z banners and campaigns have been recognized and awarded as excellent marketing tools, and we are always exploring new ways to enhance awareness.How often do you come across a group of people who work for a company they believe in 100% of the way? Rarely. Every single person employed by Z102.9 is an important contribution to the future success of the company.

We take pride in our work and the accomplishments we make through the teamwork of both the Sales and Programming departments. Devotion, hard work, and a belief in the efforts is what makes Z102.9 an important part of the radio and advertising industry in our community. I 319-363-2061

KGYM RectangleIf you’re looking to talk to sports fans, this is the place! With ESPN programming like “Mike and Mike in the morning” and “Russillo and Kanell” flanked by our great LOCAL team in afternoon drive, we’ll cover all the local and national sporting events.

We also air play-by-play for:

  • High school football and basketball in the CR Metro and the South end of the Corridor
  • Various NFL games each week, plus the playoffs and Super Bowl
  • MLB, including the playoffs and World Series
  • Minnesota Twins
  • National IRL races
  • ISU Cyclone football, men’s basketball and select women’s basketball
  • NCAA Bowl Games
  • NCAA Basketball Tournament

We added 106.3FM in Iowa City and 107.5FM in Cedar Rapids to cover even more sports.

Our local hosts are out in the community talking sports—maybe you’ll see us at Lunch Box Heroes or Tailgate Tour or a local sports bar—and often there’s an opportunity for our clients to be there too.

We’d love to talk to you about how our awesome listeners might be a match for what you’re selling. I 319-363-2061


Own your own piece of SMART-FM, sold :30 or :60 seconds at a time!

Seriously, we have a team of smart marketers ready to help you spread your message every day, and a brand strategist that we share with our clients one week each month. I 319-363-2061.


Julie Hein

Julie Hein

General Manager

Thanks for stopping by our site.  I’m wicked-proud of all the folks that work to make Z102.9 and 1600ESPN so important to listeners and advertisers.  It’s a rare and special place to be.You’re probably here because you’re thinking about advertising and radio.  We work hard to make sure we understand what’s going on with you.  We want to know where you are, where you want to go and how you want to get there.  Your strategy, your brand, your sales message–we love talking about that stuff.  We’ve helped a lot of people accelerate their growth, and we’d love to help you too.If there is ever anything that you’d like to discuss with me, please holler (319-363-2061×108). 
By the way, I do most of my office work from a treadmill desk.  Some people stare, some laugh.  I walk about 5 miles most days.
Kellie Lala

Kellie Lala

Sales Executive

I worked in retail for 13 years prior to joining the sales staff at Q103 radio in April, 1992. I have a huge commitment to Z102.9 and KGYM, and I think that radio is a fun medium in which to be involved. Every day is a new adventure! KZIA and KGYM are locally-owned which is a benefit for our advertisers as the money they spend with our stations is reinvested in our community.  We employ over 50 awesome people too!I believe that radio can help to grow a business if the advertising schedule and the message are on target. One of the things that I enjoy most is working with local businesses to achieve an affordable advertising plan that is win/win. I believe that Frequency creates Awareness, Awareness creates Preference and Preference creates Sales!I was born and raised in Cedar Rapids. I graduated from Kennedy High School (go Cougars!), Kirkwood Community College and Mount Mercy University with Business and Marketing degrees. I have a passion for travel and enjoy big and little trips whenever I get the chance. I am a lifelong and active member of Noelridge Christian Church where I am a Sunday School teacher, Trustee and Elder. I have also been a church camp counselor of high school youths for 26 years. I say that it keeps me young at heart.  I have served on the Freedom Festival Board for five years and currently volunteer at Theatre Cedar Rapids, Brucemore, and Mt. Mercy University
.A little known fact about me is that I have been playing golf since the age of five and was on the Kennedy High School golf team for three years! I am the proud Aunt of two nephews Nick and Sam, who live in Mason City. I love spending time with them. My personal motto is “Enjoy life! This is not a dress rehearsal.If you are interested in learning more about how radio can grow your business, give me a call at 319-363-2061.  I love finding new friends.
Jill Dennis

Jill Dennis

Sales Executive

I grew up in Iowa City, went to City High School there and then the University of Iowa.  I started sales in retail but in 1992 began my career in radio sales.  I worked here in the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City market for almost 17 years, met new people everyday, made new friends and loved every bit of it.  I’ve recently been asked to join Z102.9 and 1600 ESPN and I am very excited for this new venture.  I’ve stayed in radio for all these years because I believe that radio is a powerful tool for businesses to reach customers and help grow their business.  I feel very privileged to be a part of this locally owned team!

When I’m not working I’m spending time with family, friends, and my son.  I do a lot of bicycling and running in my free time and I’m a big Hawkeye fan…..who isn’t????
What About Return On Investment?

People ask us all the time about the results they will see from advertising.  There are many factors that influence when and how well your advertising will work.

First, the message.  It’s the most important factor.  Regardless of the medium that you use, the message is the most important part of advertising.  Does it speak to the heart and minds of your customers and potential customers?  Does it grab attention?  Is it about them and their lives?  Does it answer their unspoken questions and address their fears, aspirations or misconceptions?  Is it about them and their needs?

Second, the schedule.�� The message must reach enough people enough to make them aware, make them understand, and motivate their conviction and action.  We don’t want to reach everyone once.  We want to reach a group (whatever size your budget will allow) with enough frequency and repetition that they understand and like your business on the day that they need it.

We can help with both of these.  We’re happy to share all the information that we have in those areas, as it pertains to your situation.

Also, there are many other factors that we can’t control that influence the results of your advertising.  For example:  Your competitors, buying cycles, etc.

Is Radio Relevant?

“The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” ~Mark Twain

We’d also add that the reports have been spread by those who have an interest in selling their own advertising platforms!

Yep, the landscape has changed.   And at the same time…

  • We’re the original mobile advertising platform.
  • Radio’s weekly reach in the US is higher than TV, higher than higher than mobile. Nielsen Total Audience Report, Q1, 2015
  • Radio reaches about 93% of millennials each week. Nielsen Total Audience Report, Q1 2015
  • Here’s a cool, in our opinion, slideshow on how advertisers’ perceptions about radio fit with reality:  Why Radio? Perception vs. Reality

Do you want to talk about how radio fits into media mix? We’d be happy to visit you with Brand Strategy Consultant, Glen Gardner. On our nickel. Just ask.

What About Rates And Billing?
  • How does billing work? Timing, credit cards, prepayment or Net 30 after establishing credit with us. What will my invoice look like?
     Shouldn’t a 30 second ad be half the price of a 60 second ad? Since it’s not-why would I buy a 30 second ad when I can get a 60 second ad for not that much more?
    Our research shows that listeners are willing to listen to a certain number of commercials in a row. We limit both the number of commercials we play in a row and number of stopsets. The length of your commercial should be determined from your prospects’ perspective. If there is enough information to hold their attention for just 30 seconds, then that’s what is right for you. If 60 seconds is what you need to tell a compelling story, that’s the way to go. This isn’t about you, it’s about the end-user of your advertising-your prospect.
  • What do I need for my co-op advertising?
    We’ll provide a notarized script with your invoice. Usually those are the only things you’ll need from us, although you might need to send in a claim form from the company providing the co-op support.
  • How much does radio advertising cost?
    We have advertisers who spend $500 each month and advertisers who spend $8000 each month. We’re happy to put together a custom schedule for you based on your budget.
  • Do you have any sales this month? Or a special package?
    On Z102.9, we only have a few packages to offer each year – the Bridal Show Package and the Direct Broadcast Package.  We occasionally have a promotional package also, but most of our clients appreciate that we create custom packages for them.
    On 1600 ESPN, we have many packages for different sports that we air, like the Bears, the White Sox, Hawkeye Downs Racing, High School Sports, Cyclone Sports and others.  Some advertisers are interested in some of those specific packages, and some want something customized for them.  We’re happy to provide either.
  • All these other reps are calling me from other stations-they say they’ll give me a better deal.
    If it’s only about rate, we’ll probably lose. But is it about price or profit for you? We’ll help you create an effective long-term message that will persuade your prospects to act. We’re not the cheapest-and we doubt we ever will be. But we have a lot of loyal advertisers on with us month after month and year after year who would say that it’s worth it. What does it cost if you buy the cheapest – and it doesn’t work? Shouldn’t we work together to make sure that it does?
What About Branding Vs. Event Advertising?
  • Shouldn’t I just buy a live broadcast/remote? (Event-based Advertising)
    Shouldn’t I just buy a live broadcast/remote?Those can be quite effective. However, be sure to evaluate your own life-what would make you stop what you’re doing and go to an event? Probably not free hot dogs. Probably not 15% off of some product or service about which you’re not sure. What percentage of the population is in the market for what you offer TODAY? You might be spreading a message of a special event that they put into a special folder in their brain that flashes “expires soon!” They won’t remember you in the long-term, and isn’t that where the battle is really fought? Offering a discount can increase sales, but do it too often and you train customers to wait for a sale. They’ll never come in on a Tuesday when you have the extra staff to help them. They’ll only come during the monthly special. The best and highest use of your advertising dollar is to talk to everyone-tell them why they should use you. Not just today, but any day.
  • How do your live broadcasts work? (Event-based Advertising)
    Our live broadcasts are for a set three-hour time period. Within those three hours, we are actually live on the air at three different points each hour-at approximately :15, the :35, and the :45 past the hour for a total of nine ads during the entire broadcast. Our personality is there to be both on-the-air and greet your guests.
    Prior to the live broadcast, your commercial and live liner schedule will run to promote the date, time, location, and other specifics for the event.
  • What is branding vs. event-based advertising?
    Branding is implanting a favorable image of your business in the prospect’s brain. Event-based advertising is usually a limited time sale. We work with both, but we know that branding works best long term. Like Roy Williams, author of several awesome advertising books (, says, event-based advertising is like morphine-it’s for when you need a quick fix. The effect doesn’t last though, and each time you reach for it, it works less and less well. Branding is more like exercise. You get steadily stronger over the long-term, until you’re incredibly fit, better known as well-known and profitable in the business world.
  • Why would I advertise at a time when my business isn’t open?
    Our goal is to tell people WHY to come to you, then wait for WHEN they need you. It’s almost
    impossible to predict the moment of need. We want to persuade them to think of you first and like you best. And we can do that at any time of day.
  •  I only want to buy “Schulte and Swann”-don’t they have the most listeners?
    We love “Schulte and Swann,” too! They’re handsome and funny.. .and they’ll carry heavy things for us. And at the same time, we have pretty close to the same number of listeners throughout the daylight hours. Weekends are also good-a good variety of people out doing their errands. We have quite a few advertisers who have only run on weekends, but people report hearing them “everyday.” Nights provide a hip, younger audience who most likely are ripe for the picking. They don’t usually have established patterns-they’re still looking to build lifetime relationships with banks, stores, insurance agents, car dealers…and on and on.
  • Can’t I just give away some prizes on-the-air?
    We are in the business of marketing our clients to our listeners. If the listeners don’t know who you are and what you do, we fail. Simply giving away some prizes on-the-air limits the listeners’ experience of hearing a message they will be able to store in their long-term memory. We also have a policy to only give things away on the air from our clients.
What About Your Stations And Formats?
  • I don’t listen to your station…who does?
    More women than men-about 60%. Since we play new music (Top 40 or Contemporary Hit Radio is all about current hits), our listeners are usually young-thinking, hip people. Most of them range in age from 49 years down to six. We see a lot of people who have two kids and an SUV, women just starting their families and planning weddings, along with prom-goers and the like. It’s hard to put them all into a specific demographic category-but psycho graphically, we know that they’re usually well-educated, open-minded and very active, busy people. There is more information on the listener profile page.
  • Isn’t Z102.9 the ‘kid’ station? 
    We do have kids that listen. In the early days of the station, we were grateful to them, because they were evangelists for us, spreading the word to their parents. Kids are the most open to change, and noticed us first. But now, years later, we have enough adult listeners to compete with any other radio station. Our competitors like to say that we’re the “kid” station. But we’re also the Adults 18-49 station or the Women 25-49 station. We have been able to maintain both the kids and the adults. Schulte and Swann are both, um…not so young. We find that the people we see at events who are passionate listeners come from a variety of age groups. The common thread is that they’re usually hip and young-THINKING. They want to know what’s new-in music, fashion, things relevant to their lifestyle. If you’re nervous about it, ask for some Nielsen stuff. It’s boring to look at.
  • Who owns you?
    We’re lucky enough to be an Iowa Corporation owned by people who live (or did live, before a spouse whisked them away) in the corridor.  Rob Norton ( is CEO and king of operations-everything for programming and engineering. It’s a rare and special thing to have majority owners who work in the building in this age of corporate consolidation.
  • Where are your stations located?
    We’re on the southwest side of Cedar Rapids. Near a lot of deer and turkeys.
Consultation And Schedule
  • How do you decide when my commercials should play on the air?
    We are committed to figuring out what schedule will be the most effective for your business. The happier you are, the happier we are! That’s why our process is a little more involved than a lot of our competitors. We sit down with you to figure out who you want to talk to and when they are listening. From that, we discuss the budget you are willing to commit to advertising. Your sales consultant will then create a unique proposal for you that makes sense for your target and your budget.
  • What happens when I decide to meet with a sales consultant?
    First, we’ll plan a time to get together to talk about your business, your customers, your goals. That usually takes about 45 minutes. Then a week or so later, we’ll bring you a schedule that we think would work best for you, along with some general concepts for a script. After we get agreement from you about those, we’ll write a script for you to approve. After we get agreement on that, we’ll produce it and let you hear it. If it meets the goals established, we start on-the-air.
What About My Ad?
  • Does it cost extra to write and produce my commercial?
    Most of the time, production is included in the cost of the commercials. There are some things that cost extra-like hiring an outside voice to be in the commercial or wanting to sit in on production. We can let you know the specific costs for those things when they come up.
  • Who will write my commercial? Will I get to hear it before it airs?
    Mo Holland, our Commercial Services Director, or Lady J, Assistant Commercial Services Director, will write your script from information that you share with your Sales Representative. We can also bring one of them to your business if we think that will help create a better script.
  • Why do you keep talking about focus? I have five cool reasons for people to come into my store and I want them all in my ad!
    In any commercial, whether it’s branding or event-based, the message is the single most important ingredient in effective radio advertising. The reason we stress focus so much is that it is absolutely necessary to make sure your ads aren’t just about you-the ads should be focused on one single idea¬why it would benefit listeners to use your product or service and not your competition. By rattling off a laundry list of why you are so great, the listener writes you off as just another “we’re #1” scam. The message has got to be thoughtful and concise but most important, relevant to them. Period.
  • Can’t you just use the wording in my print ad?
    You can’t just hold a print ad up to the microphone. Our goal, with an intrusive medium like radio, is to engage the customers. It’s important to put together a message that speaks to each listener individually and appeals to his/her emotions. That’s different from print.