WZZQ

Two antenna cables,
power wire,
mounting bracket,
knobs & dials,
in a nifty blue case!

A little singsong jingle that i will never forget. Sung to the tune of the then popular Big Mac commercial, it was a wonderful in-house produced spot for an FM converter on the legendary WZZQ in the early 1970s.

WZZQ 102.9 FM in Jackson Mississippi in the 1970s was at the vanguard of the movement towards Album Oriented Rock radio -- they basically invented the format. I feel extremely lucky that i got to experience WZZQ.

I spent some time working in radio in Jackson, and a lot more time as a fanatical follower of Jackson radio, so i sometimes receive email asking about that time. A recent email asked: "When did JDX FM become ZZQ? What made that happen? Did all the staff go with the change?" While this question is about something that happened in 1972, the way it is phrased, as a concern about complete change is really because of what happened in 1981.

The callsign change from WJDX-FM to WZZQ was made in about 1972. It was simply an administrative licensing addendum. There was no format change, no ownership change and no staff change when the callsign changed. They simply applied to the FCC and got a different name. I've always wondered if the wonderful calls "WZZQ" were randomly assigned, or if they were specifically requested. It is possible to request a specific (vanity) callsign when applying for a broadcast license, and many stations do. JDX AM and WZZQ-FM were still sister stations, still had the same sales staff and still were in the same building on Beasley Road at Watkins Drive. Knowing what i know now about how radio works, i'd guess that once it became clear that the incipient AOR format on the FM side was a ratings success, they wanted to create a unique identity and distance themselves from the news and top 40 format on the AM side.

In any case, it was the name of one of the truly great rock radio stations of all time. It's just a name. Nothing more. However it certainly was a part of the evolution of the station into what i eventually knew in high school. My understanding of that evolution starts in the 1940s when Lamar Life Insurance, which owned WJDX-AM was competing against their arch enemy Standard Life who owned WSLI-AM. Top 40 WSLI was the original ratings leader.

Actually there are three major Jackson stations that we have to look at in this history. Going back to between the wars, WJDX 1300 AM went on the air in 1927; JDX == Jackson distance (DX is radio jargon for long distance). WSLI 930 AM joined them in 1939; SLI = Standard Life Insurance. WRBC 620 AM came along in 1948 and had several periods at #1 in the ratings when my father was growing up; RBC=Rebel Broadcasting Company. I'm not sure why but WRBC and WJDX swapped frequencies (and transmitters) in 1952. The 620 kHz channel had better propagation, more strength and a better signal so WJDX quickly took over as the top station, and, in fact, the premier station in the entire state. WRBC never recovered their competitive edge and when i was growing up they were news and sports and never in the top 10.

In the early 1940s when FM licenses became available, both competing life insurance companies grabbed a license and put an FM station on the air, not with any belief that it would be bigger than AM radio, and not even with any real conviction, but just to say they had it, for bragging rights and to keep up with the other guy. That's the tenchical origin moment when WZZQ started. But there was still a long road ahead before what we thought of as THE Q. While there was a license, a signal and even music transmitted, it was all just for show. No listeners had FM receivers in the 40s, 50s & 60s and ratings books were not produced on FM. No one was paying attention, not the station owners, not the program directors, not the advertisers and not the public. It was all just for show (and probably a tax write off!). Initially, nationwide, FM stations were added by AM stations and given the same calls. Mind you Lamar Life and Standard Life probably WANTED the same calls as their AM side, for bragging rights, but initially at least, that was all the FCC would issue. WSLI-FM was on 97.3 and WJDX-FM was, of course, on 102.9 mHz.

When TV licenses became available, a decade later, the competition between the AM stations was still going strong and they did the same as before, each got a license, just for show. Standard Life first, with WSLI TV-12 (ABC), in 1953 and, less than a year later, WLBT TV-3 (NBC) owned by Lamar Life and associated with WJDX AM. LBT= Lamar Broadcasting: Television. FM radio was still a non-existent business. They both got a TV license and started broadcasting not really because either side thought TV would turn into something bigger than AM radio, but because they had to have the newest thing, the coolest thing, to keep up with the other guy. For decades WJTV-WSLI AM & FM were a single operating unit and WLBT-WJDX AM & FM were a unit. In addition the local newspapers (The Clarion-Ledger and Jackson Daily News) got a UHF TV license, WJTV TV-25 (CBS) JTV = Jackson TV.

Television took 10 years or so to take off, but of course it did. WLBT did well and the others struggled. At some point in the mid sixties WSLI-12 shut down and was sold to the newspapers which changed their station to WJTV-12 (CBS). In 1970 they were joined by WAPT-16 (ABC) owned by, you guessed it a life insurance company, American Public Life Insurance. APT=American Public Television. At some point WJDX/WZZQ was sold. Lamar Life owned it in 1972, when the WZZQ callsign change happened, but they did not own it at the end in 1981. I'm not sure when that sale happened, and in fact there may have been more than one. If i'm not mistaken it was Kirby Confer who owned them in 1981. Lamar Life held on to WLBT TV for a while after that, but in the early 80s they were forced by the Feds to sell the station for blatant and over the top racism on the local TV news.

Back on the radio, WSLI-FM changed calls in the late 1960s. Although that station didn't have much success, it may have been another factor in the decision over at Lamar Life to change the calls on JDX-FM. (When i was in high school i knew what station the former WSLI-FM was, but i don't remember now -- it wasn't very big. The FCC database says it was WYYN but i only barely remember that station and i think that was yet another callsign change...)

Over at WJDX-FM the format was 'beautiful music'. And no one listened. That was typical across the country on the FM band. Most of the stations played classical music to appeal to the few wealthy audiophiles who might buy the exotic equipment. That went on for close to 30 years! No one listened because even into the late sixties and early seventies, people didn't have FM tuners. There was a vicious circle: no station wanted to invest in full fledged, full time radio programming until people bought the receivers. And no one wanted to buy a receiver until there was something to listen to. That's why WZZQ, and WBCN Boston (which, sadly, went off the air just last week!), and KFOG in SF and WCCC in Chicago and KJET in Seattle, and other great pioneer FM rock stations, sold those generic FM converters that let you listen to the newfangled FM on an regular old AM radio!

Really the only places that had FM receivers in Jackson were the big department stores which tuned to 102.9 for background music. Ironically that frequency continued to carry the background music for those stores well into the 1990s! This is because when the broadcast channels were designated by the FCC back in 1932, the bandwidth allotted for an FM signal was 1,000 kH with 1,000 kH padding; but by the 1970s the technology had developed so that a high quality FM stereo signal only required a a fraction of the channel, leaving lots of unused frequency space. Many FM stations, including WZZQ, would piggyback additional programming on a sub-carrier of their signal, to generate a extra income. A sub-carrier is just a radio signal that normal radios ignore but if you have a special radio, it will decode that signal. One of the main things that was carried on the sub-carrier was Muzakô Inc.'s programming tracks!!! They were embedded in WZZQ's signal! I was, and continue to be very amused at the idea of Muzakô being delivered under the same signal as Hendrix, Rundgren and the Who! I doubt that elevator music is still delivered that way. But that's not all, before the the internet provided an easier method, the stock market ticker direct to stockbrokers and stolen credit card number blacklists to stores were distributed on sub-carriers of major FM stations and there were various contracted private channel text transmissions.

I don't how much of that WZZQ did, but as one of the most powerful stations in the state, it stands to reason that there were lots of sub-carrier channels on their signal. There continue to be many sub-carrier services: pagers use that method, reading services for the blind go out on a sub-carrier and even sometimes the programming of the AM side is sent across town via a sub-carrier to avoid having a wire run to a remote transmitter! In some countries they send the name of the song in text or weather and traffic forecasts to display on your radio. All over the US there is a GPS correction signal which goes out on an FM sub-carrier and helps GPS receivers with elevation among other things. You'll notice your GPS receiver is more accurate close to a major FM station.

But i've gotten ahead of myself. Back in the 1960s, AM radio was king. Because no one listened to FM, no one had receivers. Because no one had receivers, Arbitron didn't do books (ratings) on FM stations. Because there were no Arbitron books, there were no commercials. Because there was no income from commercials the owners really didn't pay any attention to the FM side of the hall. This was the case across the country, but eventually out in the little building on Watkins & Beasley in Jackson Miss, the AM program director started letting the hippie kids working as janitors do air shifts on the FM side. Really. Those kids started playing some interesting things. They played what they liked, they played the underground music of the era. And this was 1967, we know what the MAINSTREAM music was like then! And after a year or two of that people started to notice. So in 1968, a format change was made. WJDX-FM became officially 'underground' rather than 'beautiful music'. One story says that Bob McRaney, the AM Program Director, was inspired by a station he heard in Memphis. Another story talks about a jock traveling to San Francisco and being impressed with the radio format he heard there (on KFOG i assume). Other jocks i worked with told me that the kids at JDX-FM came up with the idea on their own. (And some claimed the Memphis & SF stations were actually, fact, inspired by JDX-FM!)

However there were a couple of catches with this format change. Number one, they didn't really create an independent station on the FM side, it still didn't have a program director, it was still run by the PD on the AM side. Number two, they had a rule that the jocks still had to play one 'beautiful music' song every hour!! So you'd have the Stones and Jefferson Airplane followed by Andy Williams. Some accounts suggest that this restriction only lasted a few weeks, but i don't think that was the case. For one thing, i'm pretty sure i have a memory of actually HEARING this bizarre format, and i didn't move to Mississippi until 2 years after the format change. And secondly several people, including the legendary Wayne Harrison, told me that part of the way that they developed the thematic set philosophy which so defined WZZQ in it's glory years, was by finding more and more interesting ways to integrate those 'beautiful music' songs in with the rock.

Still, the AM sales staff was less than interested in in the station and the jocks themselves couldn't really convince anyone to buy ads. So most of the advertising was self promotion. The few ads they did have, the jocks made in-house because they couldn't afford an agency. They had fun in the production room, which of course became another creative outlet and another trademark of the station. WZZQ (Thus the FM converter jingle at the top of this post!)

It was sometime around 1971 that Arbitron finally included FM stations in the book, almost as a joke, and to everyone's shock, especially the folks at the station, JDX-FM did very well: top five (some accounts incorrectly say #1, but i don't think ZZQ EVER hit #1). After this they did get their own PD and at this point they certainly dropped the one song an hour requirement, if they hadn't already. The ownership woke up, gave them some support and started selling ads. It became profitable. And AOR was born. In '72 they changed calls and became WZZQ. Nothing else changed at that point.

   

The format that developed at WJDX-FM and the early WZZQ popped up at other places around the country, perhaps a few were earlier, but JDX-FM was clearly one of the first to develop it and WZZQ became a model that many stations around the country looked to as the format that became AOR (Album Oriented Rock) developed. There is no doubt that they were trendsetters. Many stations around the country put a Q or Z in their calls in homage to the station that started it. During the whole run of the station from the mid 60s through the notorious end in 1981, there were really no mass staffing changes or firings. The staff evolved and the original staff in 1968 didn't really contain any familiar names (except Terry Stenzal who i worked with at WZRX). My Mom's British friend Judy Genthon did a few overnight shifts out there at some point, although i donít remember her air name. The jocks i came to know and love joined slowly.

Strangely they went through program directors even more quickly than is typical in radio! Wayne Harrison was PD for a short while in the late 1970s. Wayne was instrumental in creating what was, perhaps, the signature of WZZQ, and that was the sets. WZZQ All day long music was carefully selected (rarely in advance, usually on the run) by the jock. Songs were chosen that sounded good together, that segued well into each other and, most legendarily, that had a similar theme or made a statement when placed together. Some sets had a lyrical theme in common, some had a musical connection, some sets were more complex. Almost every song played related in some way to the previous song, and to the rest of the songs in the set between breaks. It was fun as a listener picking out those themes. Sometimes they were obvious, a 'car set' or a 'dog set', sometimes incredibly obscure, but always very thoughtful. I'm told that many sets could only be understood by insiders, the people actually in the control room. There were lots of inside jokes.

1970 through 74 were the true glory years of WZZQ. Completely freeform sets, no playlist, lots of support of local music, great jocks, in house production (ads), a passionate following, great stickers: the whole thing. The ratings were not bad. 5th, 6th, 7th in the market was common. Always top 10. ZZQ was doing something truly special and, unusually, everyone realized it at the time. We knew we had something very special. It is not exaggerating to say that it was the most important thing in our lives. It was wonderful, innovative, creative, and it connected. It connected with a huge segment of the population from age 15 to 40. It was more than just music. More than just radio. It was important!

Most good radio stations develop a club-like fan base in their city, (stations strive for that!) but the camaraderie and patriotic devotion of ZZQ fans in the seventies was truly astonishing. It connected people across generations! And... how do you say this... Jackson Mississippi in the 60's and 70's was a turbulent and difficult place. Let's just say there was lots of suspicion. But if you saw someone in the car next to you rocking to the same song you were listening to, you knew they were a WZZQ fan, you considered them a friend automaticaly. A WZZQ shirt or sticker wasnít just an emblem of a clan, it was an essential identifying feature. Starting to listen to WZZQ became a rite of passage for kids growing up. It's hard to describe how important the station was, and how extensive it's reach.

One other thing that helped to create the stature, is that they simply had no competition in the market. There were country stations, funk stations, top 40 stations, gospel stations, news stations, but absolutely nothing in the same universe as what they were doing. No watered down alternative, no harder rock or or more pop station substitute. They were all there was.

 

It's worth pointing out that WZZQ benefited from Jackson, Mississippi being a middle sized market. In the large markets there was too much money at stake to take any risks and so program managers and station managers always went with what was proven, what was 'safe'. (I can't tell you how many times i heard that word, 'safe', in the years i was in radio. It drove me nuts.) Small markets had few resources and rarely had anyone interested in breaking new ground. But the middle-markets were ripe and Jackson was one of the most notable middle-markets. This manifested in other ways outside of radio too: Jackson was a frequent test market, always geting the new brand of potato chips first. (Sometimes they were so bad they didn't go any further!) And, for example, Jackson was one of the first 3 markets in the country to get cable TV, and HBO in 1975!And it still was an important middle market when i was working in radio in Jackson in the late 1980s. We had more influence than you'd think a market of a quarter million could have. I saw us break several songs and albums nationwide in the late eighties, most notably when Wayne Harrison working with me at WSTZ made Joe Satriani's Surfing With The Alien a hit. We were the first station in the country to add it. Everyone followed us. (The record company gave us the gold record as a thank you!)

 

This influence of being a mid-market was very important in helping WZZQ to thrive and in helping it influence the format at stations around the country. Through the late 70s WZZQ was riding high. They did well in the ratings, never the top spot, but usually in the top 5 and occasionally number 3. The advertisers certainly came in droves and the joint AM-FM sales staff was very excited about the station.

A partial playlist was introduced around '74, but it was still very good radio. A strict playlist was introduced in 1978. But they were part of defining a new format, Album Oriented Rock, and the playlist, while still set up around the same kind of annoying rotation that AM playlists had, still had deep album cuts, longer songs, older songs, local artists, the wonderful sets and well, a certain comfortable feel to it. It made us happy. It was a friend. Even if there did grow to be too much Journey & Foreigner (the absolute devil's curse of the late 70s.) I learned so much from WZZQ. I would stay up late at night listening to Bowie, JJ Cale, Rundgren, ZZ Top, Hendrix, Warren Zevon and much, much, much more. And then there are some songs, some things that i heard on WZZQ, maybe heard often there, so i assumed were well known nationwide, but in fact were local bands or deep album cuts that no one knew about. Even today, every once in a while i will be surprised to discover that people i know don't know about a certain song that i heard on ZZQ!

There were great jocks like David Adcock, Wayne Harrison, Sergio Fernandez, Dave Perkins, Bill Crews, Bruce Owen, Victor Hawkins and many more -- my memory is, unfortunately, fading. There was an overnight jock who called herself Carla, had all of us high school boys in a lather. She played Kraftwerk's Autobahn now and then -- in it's entirety. Blew my mind. One night she played Pink Floyd's Careful With That Axe Eugene!! But for me, and many others, the guy who epitomized it all was Perez. Perez. I can't think of WZZQ without thinking of Perez, he was, and still is, the best jock i've ever heard. I wanted to be like him. I listened to him like a teacher, a mentor. I listened to his breaks, i learned from his music, from the way he talked, from his production (something i could never, ever match!). He was amazing. I can't possibly say enough about his skills, his creativity, his knowledge. And he had the most wonderful radio voice. I was truly honored to work with him in later years.

Perez could get away with things that no one else could, things that sounded like an impending car crash turned into staggering brilliance. Whole sets appeared in the pauses in songs. Long rambling monlouges on top of 3 minute intros led directly into the subjet of the song. TO THE SECOND. He was always in control, always professional, but that wasn't always clear to the casual listener. The best (and most understated) description i've ever heard of his creative style is that he had "a habitual disregard for on-air convention." Lastly and certainly most importantly his taste in music was unparalleled - his insight amazing (and, it turns out, prescient). His signature song (other than "Rock And Roll Suicide"! was Lawyers Guns And Money, and he would freqently end his overnight shows with it.

By my junior year in high school (September of 1980) things had changed somewhat. There was a quickly aborted attempt at a shock jock type morning show with a guy (who i think was also PD) using the name Gary Phillips. Pretty much everyone hated that. WZZQ was a mellow friend, a conduit of excellent music, a community connector. That in your face thing just didn't fly. They dropped it quickly. They were still a great station, but much more strictly formatted. They still had no competition and the following was as passionate as ever, but now there were people who were upset. It was one of the most frequent topics of discussion. No one, i mean no one, that i knew, or that my parents knew, actually turned WZZQ off, it was essential, but people were calling it "the new Q" and were comparing it negatively to both the '68 to '74 format, the '74 to '78 format, and even to last year. A lot of the loyalty in those days was felt to be based on past performance, not present. It was not what we had come to love. There was talk of petitions. "Bring back the real thing." But there certainly was no other possibility at all, people couldn't change the station. There was only top 40 or country. And more than normal radio stations, this station represented a philosophy, a tribe. Like British soccer fans, turning away from the team was just not an option.

Some people saw all these changes as a bad sign, and sure enough in early 1981 rumors started that they might be changing formats. People were horrified. People who were complaining a few months earlier were now shocked and furious at the thought of losing WZZQ entirely. I have to say none of us could actually imagine WZZQ being gone. It was like suggesting the sun was going to go away. By the spring the rumors were confirmed and i remember fury in the newspaper, petitions in record stores and letter writing campaigns. There were frustrated, sad and angry discussions. There was no other topic of conversation. It seemed impossible: we knew we'd had something very, very special, in a very dark place, and we really depended on it. We couldn't imagine life without it.

Years later i learned that the same thing was going on inside the station. The jocks, the program director, the general manager, the sales staff and pretty much every one from the secretaries on up protested the idea. They begged the new owner to think again. They were not happy at all. Even the folks on the AM side didn't like it. Some of this leaked out on the air. Comments were made. Staff started to leave. New voices didn't help the situation. The new (sometime in late 1980 i think) PD and abrasive morning drive jock Keven Vandebrook took a lot of heat. We hated him for the overly commercial, less mellow, friendly changes. It may not have been his fault but among the fans he was universally blamed.

There was nothing anyone could do. I felt hopeless; I signed petitions, I sent a letter. But i knew we couldn't do anything. For the last weeks, perhaps all of June, they abandoned the New Q format and returned, albeit with the abrasive Keven in the morning, to glorious the freeform WZZQ of yore. It was a wonderful few weeks. We enjoyed it although it was like having a rock hovering over your head about to fall. We gobbled up all we could. The music, the station, the connection. For many days that summer i recorded ZZQ off the air on to reel to reel tape. I have a reel of the last 6 hours, (and i have recently transferred it to MP3).

On the evening of the second of July, 1981 they played a disturbing series of songs, a death set, ending with Todd Rundgren's Death of Rock N Roll and the Door's The End. They signed off at midnight with the horrible last words: "This was WZZQ Jackson", and then dropped the signal, just static.

I cried. Lots of people did. I get goose bumps just writing about it. I was 18. It was in every way, a loss of innocence, a loss of youth. Nothing has ever been the same. I know at least one person who claims to this day that he has never recovered. People were hurt and angry. I knew someone who copied vicious letters of complaint and anonymously sent them to the station repeatedly for almost 10 years! I knew of someone who made a point of driving past the studio on the outskirts of town in the middle of the night and breaking a bottle in the middle of the driveway once or twice a month for years and years.

We had lost a family member, a mentor, a connection, a strong friend who was always there. The emptiness was amazing. It is still known in Jackson as the Day The Music Died. No one has to ask what day or what music. For those of my generation in Jackson, this was the summer that the spirit of the 60s died. It was shocking to tune to 102.9 and hear country music the next morning. For weeks, even months, we would accidentally find radios still tuned to 102.9. Always shocking. Some people really didn't believe it would actually happen and when they heard the country twang, it was horrible. It made many of us really hate country music, which wasn't fair, but it did. And there was no alternative, it wasn't a matter of changing the dial, there was nothing. Silence.

We had lost much more than just a friend, much more than just a radio format. We'd lost what connected people throughout the city. Those connections, between different high schools and neighborhoods disappeared. We also lost our identity. As rockin' teenagers we lost the focus of our identity but let's face it, Jackson was not a national leader, in well, anything. We had had something very special, something unique, something groundbreaking, something widely copied. We had had something that made us special and it was gone. We had been proud of it. Now we struggled with inferiority. We felt this deeply. From the best imaginable to nothing. It was quite a shock. There is a full page in my high school yearbook dedicated to the end of WZZQ, and this was a yearbook that was published a full year later!! Everyone in the school considered it the most important event of the school year -- despite it happening before the year even started. And it was a profoundly emotional experience for a high school kid who planned to grow up to work in radio.

There's something else too. Jackson had struggled to have a nationally recognized music scene for a number of years, starting in the late 1970s. Bobby Sutliff, The Windbreakers, Tim Lee and Radio London had some national releases but the scene never really got rolling. I can't help but feel like a big part of the reason for that was losing ZZQ. When i hear people talk about the Athens and Austin music scenes, especially in the late 80s, i can't help but think of what could've been on the middle of the Austin-Athens axis. Because of the deep and powerful effect of having WZZQ from 1968 - 1981 Jackson always had an unusually thoughtful, educated, and deeply devoted fan base for non-top 40 rock; which is kind of surprising considering the size and location of the city. It was very noticeable in the late 80s when i was on Z106.

Our beloved station was around for about 13 years, 10 with the name WZZQ. After it changed to country it took almost a year to change the callsign to WMSI (i believe, but i can not confirm, that one of the reasons it took so long was that they wanted WMIS but couldnít get it). So for months, MISS 103, country identified itself every hour as "WZZQ 102.9 Jackson." That really hurt. As a radio geek i have to admit i would occasionally tune in at the top of the hour just to hear it.

In the last book, even with the strict playlist, WZZQ was 3rd, which is fantastic. MISS 103 has been consistently #1 ever since. The owner thought he could do better financially with country and he was right. However, i did hear through the grapevine inside of Jackson radio that he only later realized how potent that station really was, and there are rumors, rumors only, of regrets.

A couple of years after the Day The Music Died, a small station north of Jackson got the calls WZXQ. It was on 101.7 with a very weak signal. They adopted a rock format and called it ROCK 102. I think it was in early 1983; i don't know who was responsible. They were trying hard to continue the tradition. They hired some of the same folks. And it wasn't bad. Perez had some amazing shows. But it wasn't the same: WZZQ was gone and ROCK 102 didn't really last long. A station in Vicksburg got a Q in their calls and advertised as "The New Q", but they couldn't deliver.

In 1988 WSTZ 106.7 adopted a rock format and had Victor Hawkins as PD with Bill Crews and Andy Boone and Perez and, well, me. It was ok, not great, strictly playlisted except on the overnight. I had fun on the overnight and i always, always did it in the spirit of WZZQ. David Adcock started doing a weekly show. Wayne Harrison did one too. But it also didn't last. There was a major shakeup and change of direction after only a year. The tower fell in an ice storm and we were on low power for 9 or 10 months after that and then we all got fired. That's when i left town. I can't personally speak to any other events. I know David Adcock continued his WZZQ memories show for many years on various stations. The spirit of The Q clearly survived in the city.

I see that there were some strange changes in Jackson radio in the 1990s. WJDX-AM moved to 97.3 FM which was WSLI-FM's old frequency. They later moved back to AM, although i don't know if they are on 620 kHz now. In the late 90's the original WJDX (620 AM) became WJDX and WJDX moved to 96.3 FM which was occupied by what was WSLI-FM. (So there was a WJDX-FM again!!) The former WZZQ, MISS 103 i see, is now owned by Clear Channel and WSTZ 106.7 where i worked is also owned by Clear Channel. They have combined the operations in the old Beasley and Watkins studios.

A station in Terre Haute Indiana got the WZZQ calls and they were around for probably something like 20 years (longer than our Q). I believe they were top 40. The owner lost the FCC license because he was caught sexually abusing children. A couple of years ago a Christian station in Pennsylvania got the calls, but they never broadcast under them, they changed after on a couple of months to WZXQ (which were the calls of the short lived Rock 102 in 1983-4). Now a country station in South Carolina has just gotten the WZZQ calls.

But to demonstrate the importance of 102.9 just do a google search on "WZZQ". In the top 30 results, THREE are for the current active station with those calls (in South Carolina). and ONE for the Indiana station that had the calls for twenty years. The other 26 results are all from Jackson's Q!!

ZZQ is gone. But we remember.

 

Two antenna cables,
power wire,
mounting bracket,
knobs & dials,
in a nifty blue case!



© 2009 Mark Canizaro




Some links i found useful:

tinpan.fortunecity.com/newbonham/835/airchecks/mississippi
WZZQ1029.tripod.com
wakeatlanta.com/WJDXfm


I recorded the last few days of WZZQ off the air on one quarter inch stereo reel to reel tape. I don't know what happened to most of the tapes, but i still have the last hour or so. Back in 2005 i put that onto MP3, direct from the reel to reel. (The quality is not great.)



LAST SET: 2 July, 1981

  • Seven Stars (Peter Green 1979)      "All the tribes of the earth will mourn."
  • Yesterday (Beatles 1965)      "...all my troubles seemed so far away ..."
  •     [break.  Keven]
  • Sunshine of My Love (Cream 1967)    
  • Station to Station (David Bowie 1976)     "...it's too late..."
  • Changes (Black Sabbath 1972)     "...so sad, I lost the best friend I ever had"
  • She's Gone (Hall & Oates 1973)     "She's gone."
  • Death Of Rock & Roll (Todd Rundgren 1975)     "I heard what you been playin' and I think it's a sin"
  •    [Keven goodbye message]
  • The End (The Doors 1970)     "This is the end, my only friend, the end."
  •    [this was WZZQ]




Below is some of the licensing research i did today.
WEAC -
WZZQ - 07/13/2009
Where this callsign has been:
08/04/2000 on 107.5 in TERRE HAUTE IN - now DWZZQ
10/16/2002 on 88.3 in CHAMBERSBURG PA - now WZXQ
10/02/1995 on 107.5 in TERRE HAUTE IN - now DWZZQ
10/02/1995 on 1230 in TERRE HAUTE IN - now DDWBUZ
06/15/1982 on 107.5 in TERRE HAUTE IN - now DWZZQ
12/09/1981 on 102.9 in JACKSON MS - now WMSI-FM

July 2000 Indiana RadioWatch
Rock/WZZQ (107.5fm, Terre Haute) morning co-host Debbie Hunter exits, as well as air talent Danny Wayne. The two moves are un-related. Wayne is now at Country/WWSY (95.9fm, Seelyville).

July 2000 Indiana RadioWatch
The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has dismissed Michael Rice attempt to regain his licenses for WBOW (640am, Terre Haute IN), WZZQ-FM (107.5fm Terre Haute) and WZZQ-AM (640am, Terre Haute). In 1998 he was jailed, and stripped of FCC radio licenses, for sexually abusing children.

March 2001 Indiana RadioWatch
A stunt goes awry at Alternative WZZQ (107.5fm, Terre Haute). On Monday 27 March, MD/night guy Aaron Green played "Stoplight Jeopardy" with his listeners. According to the Terre Haute Tribune-Star, listeners won prizes for stopping at green lights, calling the station on a cell phone, and reporting other motorists' reactions. After calls from angry listeners, as well as an irate local police department, GM Dave Kirsch decided to dismiss Green the following morning. Ö Before we leave WZZQ, PD J. Jay King exits. Dave Kirsch is handling PD duties in the interim.

October 2002 North East RadioWatch
The FCC assigns new calls "WZZQ" to 88.3 in Chambersburg PA;

October 2002: North East RadioWatch
Across the state in Chambersburg, Four Rivers Community Broadcasting (the folks behind contemporary Christian WBYO 88.9 and its relays) have a new CP: WZZQ on 88.3 will run 140 directional watts when it signs on.

Dec 2002: North East RadioWatch
And while it's not yet on the air, WZZQ (88.3 Chambersburg) has already changed calls: it's now WZXQ.

October 2008 the Tribune Star.
107.5 WZZQ silent; was adult alternative "Z107-5" //1230; (640)

July 2009 REC news
license granted WZZQ - 07/13/2009 GAFFNEY SC US country and football

Sept 2009
Gaffney SC has a new fm station to fill the void of the old WGGI FM station. The new station is WZZQ FM 104.3 will simulcast with WEAC AM Why the new callsign -- WZZQ? What was wrong with the heritage WEAC callsign? Could have resurrected the WAGI callsign? Must have been playing "drop the Scrabble tiles"? At 250 watts, it has some problems covering all of Cherokee County. It's not ideal for Gaffney football fans.

Sept 2009
Word FM - Christian hits
88.3 (WZXQ) Chambersburg, PA