“In the order of nature we cannot render benefits to those from whom we receive them, or only seldom. But the benefit we receive must be rendered again, line for line, deed for deed, cent for cent, to somebody.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Washington Township and WJEL are appreciative to Carolyn and Kent Agness and their family for rendering again, benefits that the WJEL studio provided to Scott Agness (NCHS 08) during his time as a student. Scott is currently the on-air producer at Sports 1430, play-by-play announcer for IUPUI Women’s Basketball and the founder and editor of VigilantSports.com, but the love of sports broadcasting started in MSDWT at the J. Everett Light Career Center.
WJEL FM 89.3 was launched in 1975 and since then has provided countless students, like Scott, exposure to the world of broadcasting; however, industry and technologies change over time and updates are vital to keep the student experience relevant. Past renovations and upgrades took place in 1982 and then again in 1996. But the current digital age created an additional need for the studio space. A need the Agness family was happy to fill in honor of Scott’s experiences and to pay it forward for the next generation of North Central broadcast students.
Scott’s sisters, Christy (NCHS 1997), Karin (NCHS 2002), and Kelli (NCHS 2004) were all athletes during their time at North Central. Scott’s broadcasting career started when WJEL allowed him to cover Kelli’s North Central basketball games while he was still in Middle School. From there, Scott went on to become the only 4-year sports broadcaster from WJEL and still holds the record for most sports broadcasts ever, 156, in WJEL history. Though a talented sportscaster, Rob Hendrix, WJEL’s General Manager and Scott’s former sound production instructor will also tell you that it was Scott’s vision outside of the play-by-play that truly set him apart: “Scott was this young kid who was organized, proactive, responsible and took initiative. We still use formats that Scott created for sports broadcasting. He initiated the most organized sports broadcasting program WJEL has ever seen.”
WJEL helped Scott understand that there was a business side to broadcasting too. He learned early on that resources don’t just happen and took the initiative as a student to revamp the Broadcasting Booster Program. Scott continues, today, to support these efforts, having been a loyal booster every year since his graduation from North Central in 2008. John King, a now retired WJEL instructor, reflected, “Scott was always looking to give back, which was clearly an example set for him at home within the Agness family, who gives so much back to the community.”
Thanks to the Agness family’s supportive mindset, and months of renovations, the WJEL studio “on air light” is once again able to burn bright. Tyler Hindman an Animation and Film instructor at JEL said “The new broadcast studio has taken everything to the next level. It’s all digital and everything is remote, so it can all be controlled on your smartphone while you’re sitting on your couch at home.” Even better, the experiences generated by this renovation are not exclusive to broadcasting students. Students in the welding program at JEL were employed to engineer and produce the anchors used to support the over 800 pounds of furniture and equipment. The result of all efforts is a beautiful, state of the art, digital broadcasting studio.
Mr. King knows that resources, like this studio, have allowed him and his colleagues to tap into students’ passions and foster exceptional talents: “Rob and I over the years have seen amazingly talented kids come through these halls and we still feel like kids ourselves getting to teach them. We are so proud of what they’ve made of themselves in their careers today. This place is a launching pad for many and it is the support of the community and parents that make WJEL happen.”
The Agness family could not think of a better way to honor Scott’s experiences at WJEL than through this renovation. Scott recalls: “Being at WJEL were the best three hours of my day! There is still something special about Friday nights for me, listening to all of the high school radio stations. I was always in Mr. Hendrix or Mr. King’s office annoying them. Constantly texting them about getting the live stream going. It’s amazing that now, kids can do everything remotely.”
Exceptional experiences and resources, like the WJEL studio, are possible because of a community that fosters and facilitates them. The Advancement Center is proud to work with donors, like the Agness family, to make resources available for not only broadcasting, but also things like performing arts and STEM and everything in-between.
When you think back to your time at North Central, what experience set your path? What gifts, made by those before you, made that experience possible? And, does the option exist for the benefit you received to be rendered again?