University of the Ozarks alumnus Samuel Scott has always had a love for music and he enjoys nothing more than sharing that passion with others.
Scott, a 1979 graduate of Ozarks, owns and operates the radio station KQLO 91.9 FM out of his Clarksville home. The low-power (100 watts) non-commercial education station plays rhythm and blues 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“Music is a part of all our lives. Without music, we’d all be lost,” Scott said. “I’ve always loved music and especially R&B, so running a radio station just seemed like a great fit for me.”
Scott started the station in 2015, but said the idea of owning and running his own station has always been in the back of his mind.
“It’s something that I was always thinking about and I even hosted a blues show on a local station in 2005,” Scott said. “I started planning it many years before I actually got it going because it was quite a lengthy process to get the license. I even quit a couple of times, but I always had this voice in the back of my mind telling me to get it done.”
One of the initial challenges Scott ran into was the sustainability of the station without the resources to support a facility or staff. He found the answer by setting up the station in a spare bedroom in his home.
“Usually low power stations are run by colleges, schools, churches or groups, but not by individuals,” Scott said. “It was a little bit overwhelming trying to figure out how I was going to survive without any financial help or support. Then I figured out that the answer was to run it from my house. The bills have to be paid and that was how I was able to do it.”
For Scott, running the station is a side hustle. He continues to work full-time for Tyson Foods in Clarksville, a job he has had since 1985. He estimates that he puts in 20-30 hours a week working on playlists, programming and running the station. He said the station’s unofficial motto is, “We Play Yesterday’s and Today’s R&B.”
“Even though most everything is automated, it still takes quite a bit of time to add new music to the playlists and set up the programming,” Scott said. “I try to keep up with the latest music while also discovering old music that may not have been real popular at the time. Finding and sharing music is something I truly love, so it’s not work to me.”
A native of Lonoke, Ark., Scott came to Ozarks in 1974 on a basketball scholarship. As a high-jumping 6-foot-5 center, Scott was a standout on the men’s basketball team in the mid and late 1970s. He still holds the school record for highest FG percentage in a season, 65.7 percent in 1977-78, on his way to earning all-conference honorable mention honors.
After graduating from Ozarks with a degree in education, Scott married a girl he had met from Clarksville, Gladys Willis, and the two raised their children, son Gaylen and daughters Ashley and Shawna. Gladys died in 2012 from cancer.
“She was a beautiful lady and we raised a beautiful family and had a wonderful life together,” Scott said. “When she passed away, I was a little bit lost. Starting the radio station kind of helped me find some direction and purpose.”
Scott was the first in his family to go to college, and he said the education he received at Ozarks helped set the stage for all three of his children and his two grandchildren to earn college degrees.
“As far as basketball, I probably could have gone somewhere else and probably played more or gotten more attention, but for me I will always be extremely grateful for the education I received at Ozarks and for the professors and staff who helped me,” Scott said. “Going to Ozarks enriched my life so much and without it, I wouldn’t be here. My wife and I always emphasized education and all my children and grandchildren have college degrees. That all goes back to the education I received at Ozarks.”
According to the FCC, minorities make up less than 13 percent of all radio ownership in the United States. And, while Scott is proud to be one of those minority owners, he said he takes more pride in sharing his love of R&B music to his community. He has already applied with the FCC to move the station to 1400 watts in the near future to increase the station’s reach.
“There was a blank space in this area for R&B music and that was main goal, to fill that space and to share my love of music,” Scott said. “I really enjoy going to the grocery store and someone stopping me and telling me how much they love the music. That’s the ultimate compliment for me.”