Saturday, January 2, 2010

We'll Miss You, Eliot - George

I never worked for Eliot Keller, but I think I would have enjoyed the experience if I had.

The head man at Cedar Rapids radio stations KZIA and KGYM died in December of complications from Lou Gehrig's disease.

I became acquainted with Eliot through the Cedar Rapids Broadcasters' Community Ascertainment Meetings. Once each quarter the broadcasters in Cedar Rapids bring in leaders from various walks of life to tell us what they view as the problems and issues facing the community. We use this information to help determine what issues we should cover in our news and public affairs programming. When a guest would start getting off topic, we could always count on Eliot to steer him or her back on topic. No matter how early I arrived at those meetings (held in a conference room at KMRY Radio), Eliot was always already there...enjoying his meal from the nearby Hardee's.

The first many of us learned of his illness was when Eliot showed up at one of the meetings with a cane. Someone asked him what it was for and he matter-of-factly stated that he had Lou Gehrig's disease. It was the last meeting he would attend.

In a day of conglomerate ownership of broadcast stations, Eliot and partner Rob Norton helped keep some local ownership in place in Cedar Rapids. KCCK and KMRY are the only other locally owned radio stations in Cedar Rapids. And Eliot and his wife Sandy were supportive of KCCK. They attended some of our events...namely Jazz at Riverside and Jazz to the World at the Englert in Iowa City. And you would also find Eliot at the Iowa City Jazz Festival.

Others knew Eliot through his work in promoting and trying to bring together the communities of Cedar Rapids and Iowa City. Still others knew him through his efforts to bring passenger rail service to Iowa City. He'll be missed by all those people.

George Dorman - KCCK News and Operations Director

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