After Amilee Cattouse-Scott, ’85, earned her bachelor’s degree in broadcasting from Buffalo State, her career followed a quick upward trajectory in the radio world. Today she is known as Shaila Scott, a familiar New York City personality and host of “Midday Café” on 98.7 KISS-FM, where she plays a mix of classic soul and rhythm and blues and covers hot topics and events of the day.
Every day she leaves her listeners with a positive thought she calls a “sisterly kiss.” Her many accolades reflect her dedication to the medium and her ability to connect with audiences. Upscale Magazine named Scott one of the top 30 radio personalities in 1997; Buffalo State named her an Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) distinguished alumna in 2007, the same year Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, ’83, designated a day in her honor.
And in 2009, President Barack Obama invited Scott to the White House to participate in a hip-hop, music, and poetry night, an event she calls “one of the highlights of my life.”
The groundwork for her success started under the tutelage of instructors such as Tom McCray, associate professor of communication.
“Through his class, I knew radio was what I wanted to do,” said Scott. “The way he conducted the class and how passionate he was about radio—I thought maybe I could be that passionate.”
She not only found the passion; she also landed her first radio job while a student. In 1984, she entered a talent contest sponsored by Kappa Alpha Psi. She didn’t win, but one of the judges, who worked at WBLK in Buffalo, told her if she was really serious about radio to come to the station and they’d see if she had what it takes to be on the air. After four weeks of introducing songs during the weekend, she was promoted to an overnight DJ position.
“I got to see firsthand how broadcasting affected these people,” she said. “I became hooked, and it became a lifetime career for me.”
But it wasn’t easy juggling a full-time work schedule with college classes. She pared back to part time work, and completed her degree a year and a half later than planned. She credits the staff and mentors in EOP—Emma McFayden, Gwendolyn Wooten, Fajri Ansari, and Ottilie Woodruff—with helping her graduate.
“They supported and motivated me to believe I could finish school while working full time,” she said.
In turn, Scott wanted to give back to society. Four years ago, she founded Sisterly Kiss, an organization that raises money for victims of domestic violence. And it’s this kind of community service, rather than awards and acclaim, that is her greatest source of pride.
“It’s becoming a prime example of service, not about who I am but whom I serve,” she explained. “I’ve watched Sisterly Kiss propel so many women forward, as I was.”