South Central traces its history to a civil war era house overlooking a bend in the Ohio River at Evansville, IN where World War II Naval Officer, John A. Engelbrecht, incorporated then named South Central Broadcasting on June 3rd 1946. His goal was to move off his family’s apple orchard and start radio station WIKY 820AM.
the early years
As in most entrepreneurial ventures the first years were tough. John A’s wife, Bettie, taught at a local grade school to keep the new business afloat. However as the business grew healthier, so did John A’s appetite for new ventures. With some modest success in radio and creative financing he was able to enter both Television Broadcasting in the 1950’s and the Muzak franchise system in the 1960’s.
1st to 2nd generation
John A. and Bettie’s only child, John David, began working in the business on a full time basis while in college at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. This prepared John David to take the reins when his father passed away unexpectedly in November of 1974. After his father’s death, John David set a course to dramatically grow the newly named South Central Communications. For the next 30 years, he would start up or purchase a new business nearly every 24 months.
2nd to 3rd generation
In the 1990’s, John David’s son, JP, began showing interest in joining the family business. Early learning opportunities coupled with years of working inside South Central in various capacities led JP to the role of COO in 2002 and then CEO in 2008. While JP has taken on day-to-day management of South Central, John David remains focused on acquisitions and strategy as Chairman of the Board.
In 2014, South Central exited the original business of radio broadcasting. Now, with newfound capital and a new name, South Central Inc is poised for the next 70 years via a combination of acquisition and organic growth.
Business Hall of FameOn March 13, 2014, the Junior Achievement of Southwestern Indiana honored John D Engelbrecht as an inductee to Evansville’s Regional Business Hall of Fame. Watch the video below to find out why.