OCEAN CITY — From a single AM radio station six decades ago, Great Scott Broadcasting (GSB) has snowballed into one of the largest radio groups on the Eastern Shore. And, according to CEO Mitch Scott, his company is just getting started.
“We’re always improving,” he said.
Scott’s father borrowed $5,000 in the 1950’s to purchase a small AM radio station in Pottstown, Pa. Almost 60 years later, GSB encompasses five stations and has a coverage area stretching all the way from the Bay Bridge to the southern tip of the Eastern Shore of Virginia. At its peak, GSB contained 13 stations across the East Coast of the US. However, over the years Scott has sold most of the stations outside of Maryland and Delaware, deciding to concentrate on providing coverage to Delmarva.
“I like the area,” he said.
Scott, who has worked various positions in the industry in several states, asserted that the atmosphere on the Eastern Shore differs from anywhere else.
“It’s still business … but it’s more personal,” he said.
Immediately after graduating high school, Scott had the option of attending college on an athletic scholarship. However, under the advice of his father, Scott moved to Florida to pursue a career in broadcasting.
“The day after high school I went to work,” he recalled this week.
Eventually, Scott did earn an executive degree in marketing, but not before years of “bouncing around” the radio business. After Florida, he moved to places like New York City and Boston. When his father finally asked him to work for the family business, Scott returned to Pennsylvania, though his father only offered him a fraction of the salary he was previously making.
“Seriously, a tenth,” joked Scott.
Despite the diet his wallet was forced to take, Scott claims he didn’t hesitate to give up a more lucrative position for the chance to work with GSB.
“There was no question,” he said.
Under his parents’ leadership, GSB grew steadily well into the 1980’s.
“My dad and mom were both very sharp business people,” said Scott.
With his father’s passing in 1984, Scott stepped into more of a leadership position and, along with his mother, helped bring GSB to the Eastern Shore. Less than half a year after establishing itself on Delmarva, GSB had already acquired multiple radio stations. The first station the company debuted was 93.5 “The Beach,” which more than 20 years later, is still popular and thriving. Stations like OC 104, BIG Classic Rock 103.5, “The B” 101.7, and Hot Country 107.7 soon followed.
The influx of stations has turned GSB into one of the largest radio entities on Delmarva. Its area of coverage, which Scott estimated to be approximately 200 miles, is continuously growing. He pointed out that this week, “The B” would have its signal strength doubled, and plans are in the works to have other stations follow in the near future.
Scott was quick to point to his employees as how GSB got to where it is today.
“We have long-term, fabulous employees,” Scott said, adding that many had been with GSB for 30 or more years.
Despite its size, Scott was adamant that people in his company never let success go to their head.
“We’re a very grounded company,” he said.
Scott noted that GSB is heavily involved in community outreach programs and both local and national charities.
“We believe charity begins in our community,” he said.
According to Scott, GSB runs hours of public service announcements across its stations every year, provides a spotlight for local causes to get their message out, and has raised and contributed millions of dollars to charity since its inception.
“The more people you help it comes back to you 10 times that…more than 10 times,” Scott said.
That attitude is something Scott tries to apply to running a business as well.
“Optimistic action is what I believe in,” he said.
In his opinion, success at the cost of someone else’s failure is not worth it.
“I love the situations where everybody wins,” Scott said.
With the number of listeners continually growing, Scott isn’t planning on getting out of the radio business anytime soon.
“In 10 years, we’ll be here…we’ll probably keep expanding,” he said.
One possible avenue GSB will be looking into in the future is entering the satellite radio scene. Whatever direction the future holds, Scott promised that GSB would keep the interest of the businesses who advertise with them forefront.
“Our clients are my boss,” he joked.