WOUB Ignites Lifelong Passion for Former Regional Reps Corporation Owner/President< < Back to
Stuart Sharpe graduated from Ohio University in 1964 and 1966
ATHENS, OH – When Stuart Sharpe was 18 years old, he was just a shy kid from Cleveland who had a dream of being a radio disc jockey. Coming to Ohio University and working at WOUB Public Media ignited a lifelong passion for radio and ended up putting him on a completely different path to career success.
“I primarily chose Ohio University because I had radio interests in high school. I did PA announcements and announcing at high school football games for the band. So, I looked at a couple of different colleges. But when I went to Athens and was walking around campus with a friend, someone pulled up alongside of us with the radio on, and they were listening to WOUB. I knew right then that this was where I wanted to go to be on that radio station. I guess I chose WOUB, but I had to go to class at Ohio University,” said Sharpe laughing.
The radio-TV major went to WOUB to get involved as soon as he got on campus. He had big dreams and thought he was ready to be on the air.
“I asked ‘How can I become involved?’ Station Director Archie Greer told me I would have to do an interview and audition with him,” said Sharpe. “I was the voice of my high school band, so I thought I was ready for radio on WOUB. I did the audition. I thought I did a great job. However, Archie told me he thought I had potential, but I wasn’t ready to be on the air yet.”
Even though Sharpe had some work to do before he could be a disc jockey on the station, he did do other work at WOUB during his freshman year, like anchoring newscasts. He also had a job at an uptown Athens theater as a projectionist. Although he was doing things he loved, his grades were paying the price. Greer asked Sharpe to take a break from WOUB and get his grades up, which is exactly what Sharpe did. He returned to WOUB his sophomore year, kept his grades up and eventually became a morning show disc jockey, as well as station manager for WOUB AM during his senior year.
“It was great, and I loved it,” said Sharpe. “But then one day during my senior year, I was stopped in a stairwell by Professor Ed Penson. He told me he liked my morning program, but he saw potential in me in a different part of communications. He explained that a new graduate level organizational communications program was beginning the following year, and he thought I should apply for it.”
Sharpe was intrigued. He applied and was accepted. After graduating with his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1964, Sharpe started his master’s program in organizational communication in the fall of 1965.
In addition to being involved with the new organizational communications program, Penson was also the university’s provost and was heavily involved in the research and planning for Ohio University’s regional campuses. Sharpe became involved in gathering the survey research for the Lancaster campus during his time in graduate school. After graduating in 1966, Sharpe got a job teaching at Cleveland State University.
“I left radio behind,” said Sharpe. “I got married and taught at Cleveland State in the Speech Department.”
But then his life took a tragic turn. His wife was killed in an accident in the winter of 1968. Her death made Sharpe rethink everything.
“I wandered in an emotional desert for a few years,” said Sharpe. “I really wanted to get back into radio, so I started doing part-time on-air work for area radio stations. One February night, I was coming out after doing some work at a radio station and walked to the parking lot to get in my old beater of a car. I noticed that there were some very expensive new cars in that parking lot, and they all belonged to the salespeople. So, a radio salesperson was born.”
Sharpe got a sales job at WKSW in Cleveland and spent two years there. He then got a job working as regional manager for Regional Reps Corp., a radio station sales representative company, and after some time was fired when he had a dispute with the owner. Sharpe then started his own radio sales representative business in competition. The owner of Regional Reps sued him, and Sharpe countersued for wrongful termination. In 1985, the settlement of the suit was that Sharpe was able to purchase Regional Reps. The company expanded under Sharpe’s leadership and now has offices in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, and New York. He was president of the company for 33 years before selling it and retiring in 2018.
“WOUB ignited a lifelong love of the radio business,” said Sharpe. “I loved being on the air, and I enjoyed what I was doing at WOUB. When I started at WOUB, I was a kid, self-conscious and not very outgoing. It gave me the opportunity to meet and work with other professionals and students who had the same passion I did. I got to interview a lot of celebrities who came to perform on campus. It opened my eyes to a whole a lot of possibilities that I had never thought about.”
“Archie Greer, Ed Penson and School of Dramatic Arts and Speech Professor Elizabeth Andersch all had a tremendous impact on me and, in one way or another, changed my life,” said Sharpe. “My time at WOUB and Ohio University was one of the highlights of my life. It was a wonderful experience.”