WENT owner sells station after 32 years

The owner of WENT Radio, Jack Scott, agreed late last month to sell the station after 32 years as president and general manager to Michael Shaus a Schenectady resident with over 30 years of radio experience. The station is shown on Thursday. (The Leader-Herald/Ashley Onyon)

GLOVERSVILLE — The owner of WENT Radio, Jack Scott, agreed last month to sell the station after 32 years as president and general manager.

Scott said Thursday he filed the sale of WENT Radio which broadcasts on channels 1340 AM and 105.1 FM to Michael Shaus of Schenectady with the Federal Communications Commission on June 27. The application for transfer was accepted by the FCC on June 29.

After filing with the FCC, there is a 30 day comment period and Scott must announce transfer of ownership in both the newspaper and on the radio station. During the comment period the public is able to visit the station to view the asset purchase agreement included in the public file.

The asset purchase agreement lists the total purchase price for the station at $390,000. Final approval of the sale from the FCC will likely come in 60 to 75 days Scott said.

Scott purchased the station with his brother, Jonathan Clark, in 1986 after starting a career in broadcasting in 1970. Scott said his brother who lives in California is not involved in the operation of the station and they are selling 100 percent ownership.

Scott’s career has spanned most aspects of broadcasting in both radio and television where he worked as an anchor, disc jockey, salesperson and manager. Scott, whose legal name is Douglas Clark Jr., said he chose his broadcasting name when he started his career as a broadcaster on television and radio, often doing controversial radio work.

According to Scott it is common for radio personalities to go by other names in the public business. When he started his career, he and his wife had a young daughter and changing his name was a way to protect his family’s privacy.

In the 1980s while working as a consultant for radio stations in the western part of the country, Scott began looking for a station to purchase, identifying WENT. Scott said the timing was right with his daughter just about to start school in Connecticut where his family lived. Scott relocated to the city where he currently lives.

Scott said he’s enjoyed owning and operating the radio station, but made the decision to sell WENT in order to retire. While he will no longer be working for the station, Scott has offered his continued support to the new owner, Shaus.

“I’ll certainly be available to him for any questions he may have. I’ve been here 32 years, it will be difficult for me to summarize everything in a brief period of time,” Scott said.

Scott said he would begin introducing Shaus, a Schenectady resident, to advertisers and other people or organizations connected to the station beginning next week to help prepare him to take over ownership. Scott noted that Shaus plans to maintain the station’s basic programming and format.

“One of the reasons that made it very attractive for us when we identified Mike is he wants to keep it community oriented and take it to the next level,” Scott said. “We’ve chosen to stay with the news because it is our unique selling proposition and a service to the community”

WENT features live local news and sports programming produced in house and music selections are curated by the station’s own disc jockeys.

“I think our most important product is local news,” Scott said. “I don’t think there are any local stations that do real local news. Even big stations have cut back their news, stations all over the country are economizing in that area.”

“It’s a tremendously talented, professional staff and they have made this station kind of iconic,” he added.

Shaus who has worked in radio for over 30 years said he has always wanted to own a radio station and a friend suggested that he speak to Scott about WENT.

“I went out and talked to Jack and was extremely impressed with the radio station, the format, the way it’s run, what he’s done and the local aspect really impressed me and the fact that it’s profitable,” Shaus said. “It’s a great property and it’s the way radio should be done. Local, live, it’s something radio has always had a strength in.”

Shaus said he does not plan to make changes to the station or staff, rather planning to add one or two sales positions to the already existing positions and expanding the station’s digital offerings.

“I do not anticipate any changes with the format,” Shaus said. “It’s a great group of people. What I see more is maybe doing more digital or online, expanding on the digital end of things, not changing anything with the format or the way things are done because it doesn’t need it.”

The station’s independent status was another quality that attracted Shaus to WENT.

“As corporate radio has become more and more, it’s become controlled from the outside and I want to control my own destiny and do radio the way I think it should be. That’s the way Jack has done it in the local area that the radio station serves,” Shaus said. “It’s a business that I love.”

Shaus has experience working in radio advertising, sales and management. Shaus worked in stations in the Capital District, Massachusetts and Connecticut and previously worked for Clear Channel and Townsquare Media.

Shaus said he got his start working locally in Gloversville and Amsterdam, but he’s looking forward to getting to know the community better and has started looking for a house in the area.

“I am familiar with the area, I need to become more familiar with it of course, but I plan to immerse myself in getting to know the area and becoming part of the community,” Shaus said. “I’m excited to be purchasing the radio station and taking over a great legacy that has been built.”

For his part, Scott is looking forward to retirement, traveling and spending more time with his family. He plans to stay in the area, continuing to serve on the board of Mountain Valley Hospice as he has for over 20 years.

“Its been great, it really has, I will miss it but it’s time to let somebody else come in and improve the station,” Scott said.

By Josh Bovee

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