Hugh Isaac Shott died on October 12, 1953, at age 87. “Hugh Ike,” as he was known, was born in Staunton, Virginia, where he learned the printing trade. He moved to Bluefield and served as a clerk on N&W Railway.
In 1896, he purchased the weekly Bluefield Telegraph newspaper and switched it to a daily publication. His timing was great because the Bluefield area was growing by leaps and bounds thanks to the rapid spread of coal mining in the area.
Shott built a communications empire in Bluefield, including the morning Daily Telegraph, the afternoon Sunset News, a printing company, and WHIS radio. This pioneering station used Shott’s initials as call letters and broadcast from a penthouse studio atop the luxurious West Virginian Hotel. It launched the careers of a number of country stars, including the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers and Lynn Davis and Molly O’Day.
“Hugh Ike” Shott also served two terms as a Republican congressman and a short stint in the U.S. Senate. After Shott’s death, his sons and grandsons—including three sets of male twins—expanded the family business operations, including the addition of WHIS-TV.