In her book, “Secrets of Success,” a book about ordinary Polk County people who made it to the top because they chose not to be ordinary, Mary E. Walker described Reba Zoellner as “a rara avis – almost as rare as the whooping crane and ivory-billed woodpecker” – because she was a woman … who was also a General Manager of a radio station, and there weren’t too many of those back in those days. But she didn’t start her business career in radio. Far from it.
In 1973 Reba was working at a western-wear store in Lakeland when two radio station sales people came in. In the course of their conversation they told her she was in the wrong business. Their words must have really been convincing because she took them up on it and took a job at Bartow’s WPUL.
Starting out first in sales, a job she figured she knew best, the Hardee County native began doing some bookkeeping, some traffic work, and anything and everything she could find that was associated with a radio station. She caught on quickly and it didn’t take long before she was promoted to sales manager, and then general manager of the station.
Reba remained with WPUL for over ten years before leaving in 1986 to join the sales team at Hall Communications’ WONN/WPCV in Lakeland. She turned out to be good for Polk County radio and Polk County radio turned out to be good to her, proving that those two radio sales people in 1973 were right.
Reba Zoellner passed away October 20, 2021 at the age of 84.
1986 - 2006 WONN (Sales)