Jeff Smulyan became infatuated with the radio business during his time at North Central High School. The rise of juggernaut station WIFE in the market brought life to the radio business in central Indiana. Couple that with a healthy interest in journalism (Smulyan worked as a stringer for the Indianapolis News and wrote sports at NC for The Northern Lights) and Smulyan set off to Southern Cal to study history and telecommunications. He would get a law degree in broadcast journalism, but it was the urging of his father to return to Indianapolis that started it all.
Smulyan purchased a small station in Shelbyville, IN in 1979. Two years later, with a new, powerful tower closer to Indianapolis, WENS was born. From there, Emmis Communications has grown to be one of the most influential media companies in the world, changing the way people listen, watch and read. Today, it operates over 20 radio stations around the country and publishes a number of magazines. You can read the company’s entire story here.
Smulyan is known more for his professional integrity and involvement than the success of his company. Emmis, which is the Hebrew word for truth, is consistently ranked as one of the top companies in the country to work for thanks in large part to a culture created by Smulyan that hasn’t changed in 30+ years, even through some dark times in the industry. Additionally, Smulyan has been active with both his high school and college alma maters, and in spearheading the growth of FM receivers in phones to make access to news and entertainment even easier in the digital/mobile future.