J.P. Engelbrecht is giving the idea of work/study a new definition. Two years ago, at the age of 20, the business management major became one of the youngest people ever to purchase an FM radio station. He acquired a tiny 250-watt station that played old country songs in Boonville, Ind., a small rural community about 20 miles from Evansville in the state’s southwest corner. Since purchasing the station, he’s turned it into a 3,000-watt classic rock station called Y107.
Engelbrecht has the radio business in his blood. His grandfather, J.A. Engelbrecht, got into the radio business after serving as a communications officer in World War II. When he died, his 22-year-old son, J.D., became CEO of the family company, South Central Communications, whose holdings now include Indiana and Tennessee radio and TV stations, as well as 11 Muzak franchises.
“I grew up in radio,” says J.P. “Ever since I was 3 years old, all I’ve wanted was to have my dad’s job. I’ve done everything possible: promotions assistant, cutting the grass, engineering, going on sales calls, getting coffee. I knew I’d have to do anything and everything to show the employees that I was tough enough to do the job.”
So when the opportunity arose for Engelbrecht to purchase his own station, he grabbed it. “It’s a really good business. It’s amazing how you can touch people,” he says. “When I go out on location, I get to see how people interact with the station. You’re part of the community that you’re trying to make a better place. I’m proud to be in this business and lucky to do something I love.”
In Tune With a Dream
Peter Hamaguchi is a big shot in Tokyo—president of two corporations and friend to some of the world’s most powerful business leaders. But even he was humbled by his latest venture: singing at the Vatican. In fact, he says, it was downright scary. During a 5:30 p.m. Mass in September, Hamaguchi and his 20-member choir sang five hymns in Japanese in front of about 500 people.
The performance in the Basilica of St. Peter capped off a 10-day circuit of Italy, which started in Bologna and moved to Florence, Siena and Assisi—about 20 churches in all—before finally reaching Rome.
Hamaguchi arranged the Basilica performance through his friendship with Archbishop Giuseppe Pittau, S.J., former president of Sophia University in Tokyo. Pittau, secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education at the Vatican, presided over the Mass.
The two were among several honored guests at the University in December 1999 for the 450th anniversary celebration of St. Francis Xavier’s arrival in Japan, when Hamaguchi was awarded the St. Francis Xavier Medal. Hamaguchi, a 1962 M.B.A. graduate, still hosts executive M.B.A. students each year, mentors other students studying in Tokyo, and brings a group of Japanese business professionals to Cincinnati every year for seminars arranged through the University.
Of all his accomplishments, though, the experience in Rome was perhaps the richest. “For many years it was my dream,” he says, “and with a lot of help from many people, finally, it came into reality.”