Jeffrey H. Smulyan, Important Indianapolis Resident and Media Mogul

One of the most notable people from Indianapolis is well-known mostly in the business world. Jeffrey H. Smulyan runs one of the leading media companies in the nation, Emmis Communications Corp. The firm’s corporate offices are out of the bustling Indianapolis business district in downtown Indianapolis, but Indianapolis media is not its sole focus. As a matter of fact, Smulyan currently leads a group seeking to buy up all the company’s shares and privatize the business, which went public in 1994, and whose long media arms stretch from coast to coast.

Emmis Communications was the first company of its type to own and operate highly-placed radio stations in both Los Angeles and New York simultaneously. Emmis has two AM radio stations and over twenty FM stations, situated in the strongest markets in the United States. The giant media powerhouse also owns and operates six magazines (including Indianapolis Monthly) and ten major radio stations outside the U.S. The company has nearly completed its planned sell-off of sixteen TV stations, concentrating instead on the radio market.

Who exactly is the man behind the media mastery?

Jeffrey H. Smulyan was born in Shelbyville, a small satellite of Indianapolis, and now lives in Indy. He has a wife and three children and an affinity for sports and politics. The White House apparently developed an affinity for Smulyan as well, since it made him head of its Delegation to the Plenipotentiary Conference of the International Telecommunications Union in 1994, an ambassadorial position. Smulyan was instrumental in the negotiations of important agreements between the PLO and Israel during that stint.

Hear Jeff Smulyan in person as he directs this seminar for IUPUI‘s Entrepreneurship Club.


Jeff Smulyan took his History and Telecommunications B.A. at the University of Southern California, graduating cum laude. He then went on to receive a degree from that university’s School of Law. Thus prepared, he went out into the world of media, operating a station in Indianapolis and one in Omaha. In 1980, he founded Emmis Communications, becoming its principal shareholder.

Many honors and positions of recognition have punctuated Smulyan’s path to success: He was director of the National Association of Broadcasters, Chairman of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership and Chairman of the Board of the Radio Advertising Bureau, for example. He presently serves the University of Southern California, his alma mater, on the Board of Trustees.

Smulyan received the Silver Satellite Award from the American Women in Radio and Television in 2000, preceded by a long list of other honors and awards, such as Indiana’s prestigious “Sagamore of the Wabash” and Entrepreneur of the Year from the Indianapolis Business Journal. In 1995, he was named by R & R, a top publication in the radio industry, as one of the ten radio executives with the most influence throughout the past twenty years.

A sports fan from way back, Jeff Smulyan is as proud of his financial partnership in Seattle’s major league baseball team, the Mariners, as he is of his Indiana Business Hall of Fame induction.

Smulyan’s company has likewise received much favorable recognition. Fortune Magazine named Emmis Communications one of the country’s “100 Best companies to Work For” in 2005, and home state Indiana has placed the company on its list of “Best Places to Work in Indiana” for the past two years running.

Clearly, Jeffrey H. Smulyan is one of the important movers and shakers in Indianapolis, a force to be reckoned with and a positive and valuable asset to Indianapolis society.

Read more details about the buyout in the PR Newswire release published yesterday.

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