20 Years of Speaking on Business

This year marks the 20th anniversary for the radio program.

Tammy Walquist Mar 1, 2017

It started with having all the right pieces in place: A community-focused organization, a well-known business leader with radio experience brought on board at Zions Bank and an idea from a bank executive about a unique way to thank clients. The result? The Zions Bank “Speaking on Business” radio program.

Following a 25-year career as president of the Salt Lake Chamber and a successful bid for the Olympic Winter Games, Fred Ball announced his retirement. Zions Bank recognized his strong business connections and leadership skills and brought him on board as a loan officer. However, Harris Simmons, chairman and chief executive officer of Zions Bancorporation, saw more. Taking advantage of Ball’s radio experience and position in the community, Simmons conceived a radio program to highlight Zions Bank clients and called it “Speaking on Business.” This year marks the 20th anniversary for the radio program.

320 Companies on 18 Radio Stations Annually

Today, “Speaking on Business” is heard on 18 radio stations throughout Utah and Idaho, featuring around 320 companies annually. Each day’s program features a new business, and the overall goal has never changed, says Rob Brough, executive vice president of marketing and communications for Zions Bank.

“The purpose has always been to shine light on clients, as a way of saying ‘thank you,’” he says. “It’s a way of letting them know we are dedicated to their success and to demonstrate our commitment to businesses across Utah and Idaho.”

The program has evolved during its 20-year history from being heard solely on KSL Newsradio to a radio network throughout Utah, and later expanding into Idaho. Six years ago, Ball retired. Chris Redgrave was brought on board as the new host for “Speaking on Business,” following a 20-year career in broadcasting and business as the former vice president and general manager of Bonneville Broadcast Radio Group.

Meaningful Conversations Weekly

Throughout her time on the program, Redgrave — who is now senior vice president of Community Relations at Zions Bank — says she’s had extraordinary meetings with businesses across both states and has loved seeing firsthand everything from Utah’s thriving manufacturing industry to meeting farmers and ranchers. She’ll never forget the time when she cured her appetite for lamb chops forever by holding a baby lamb or attended an event where she held one of the oldest diamonds in the world.

“When you have the opportunity on a weekly basis to have deep, meaningful conversations about someone’s business, it’s touching to say the least,” she says. “We become fast friends in a very short time period, and when the call is over, we’re pulling for them to be wildly successful.”

For the past three years, Redgrave has received a Best of State Award in Journalism for her work on “Speaking on Business.” She also introduced Zions Bank’s annual Top Businesses program, which honors high-performing clients featured on the program during each calendar year.

Brough says 20 years ago, when “Speaking on Business” launched, nobody could have anticipated its impact. “I feel like we’re providing a tremendous benefit to our clients,” he says. “Aside from the advertising monetary value, somebody is raving about their company and what they do. And the broadcasts are delivering the story that Zions Bank is committed to business, small business in particular, and what they are accomplishing every day.”

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