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Hitting the airwaves


Don DeWaay and Brian Christensen spend their days at DeWaay Capital Management in West Des Moines meeting with clients and dispensing investment information.

But the job doesn’t end there for DeWaay and Christensen, a financial adviser for the company. They take their financial expertise to the airwaves every Sunday night at 8 p.m. with “The Profit Zone,” which they saw as a way to educate investors and promote their business.

“I believe that what ‘The Profit Zone’ does is it allows us to have not only an educational arm but a marketing arm all in one,” said Christensen, who came to DeWaay following a career in broadcasting. “It does give us the opportunity to be a recognizable brand name, and frankly it has helped us expand our business.”

“The Profit Zone” has been broadcast on WHO radio for nearly five years and is now syndicated on stations throughout Iowa and in parts of Nebraska, Minnesota, South Dakota and Missouri. In developing the program, DeWaay believed there was a great deal of information on such topics as stock market strategies that was not reaching investors. He wanted to produce a program that was “something more than Finance 101,” while still putting out a “listenable situation.”

DeWaay and Christensen, who joined the show more than three years ago, spend time throughout the week discussing various topics as they relate to the program, though occasionally they find themselves digging for a topic 30 minutes before air time. Often they research and discuss broad-based topics, such as energy costs or current market trends. Other times, they may discuss issues that have arisen through work with a client.

And they have seen a boost to their business. During the show, listeners can call DeWaay Capital Management’s offices and speak to a financial adviser. Some Sundays only a handful of calls will come in; other weeks there can be hundreds.

“There are times that I think we’d much rather be at home with our families, but you realize that the opportunity to convey a message to a mass audience is exciting and it’s fun,” Christensen said.

Yvonne Gentzler, an associate professor of family and consumer sciences at Iowa State University, saw the educational value in initiating a biweekly feature on KCCI television, “Let’s Talk About Life,” which she viewed as a means of getting her profession’s research and knowledge to a broader audience.

“The knowledge of family and consumer sciences is so practical to situations that we find ourselves in every day, so this has been a natural way to get the information out there to people,” said Gentzler, whose segment appears every other Wednesday on the Channel 8 noon news. “One of the missions of the profession of family and consumer sciences is to help improve the quality of life for individuals and families, and it seems like its one of the best ways to go about doing that.”

She also chooses topics that are relevant to current trends and issues or the time of year, such as back-to-school time. She has covered such issues as financial literacy for children, kitchen gadgets, talking with your kids about drugs and playing it safe on vacation.

Her segments often generate e-mails and phone calls from viewers who want to discuss their personal situations. After two years on the air, she is occasionally approached in public by viewers who recognize her and want to discuss their problems or specific segment topics.

“These segments give visibility to the profession so that people can begin to see that we’re not just health, not just food, not just human development, but the integration of all these areas and helping people to apply this knowledge to improve the quality of their own lives,” Gentzler said.

Still fairly new to on-air educational segments, certified personal trainer Laurie Linhart of Paragon Personal Training Ltd. has overcome any initial intimidation over having a television camera following her and says she enjoys working on her occasional fitness segments on WHO-TV.

In addition to bringing health and fitness information to a group of people that stretches beyond her clientele, she said the segments have added credibility to her business and helped her polish her presentation skills. And she was able to learn from her husband and business partner, Curtis Linhart, who for eight years appeared on “Fit at Five” on KCCI.

The segments have covered health and fitness routines and equipment that are both inexpensive and accessible to a wide audience. Though neither her nor her husband’s TV appearances have drawn in many new clients, Linhart said it is a way to give back to the community.

“It’s not a gold mine, but it enhances our credibility as trainers,” she said.

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