I mentioned in an earlier post or maybe in the comments that I spent some time around a radio station in my youth, so now the onus is upon me to explain myself. First of all, to be clear, I did nothing of any value whatsoever while at the radio station. Well, that’s not strictly true. I fulfilled a number of functions, none of which had anything to do with radio broadcasting. My main job was to run out for Krystal burgers (for those of you in White Castle territory, Krystals are the southern equivalent thereof) and cigarettes. And to smuggle in beer in my purse. Impressed? Of course you are. Everything to do with radio in those days was glamorous. But this wasn’t a cool radio station – it wasn’t even close to being cool. The cool radio station in town was WZZQ.
WZZQ was one of the first of its kind in the country – a free-format, anything-goes, bad ass album rock radio station, and it was where I learned about music. It was the station I listened to on my little Panasonic transistor. It was the station of “Nantucket Sleighride” and “Mississippi Queen”. If you are interested in radio history, this is a fascinating story, because all this took place in ultra-conservative Jackson, MS. You can read about WZZQ here and here.
But like I said, this wasn’t WZZQ. It was more of a fly by night operation that took place in an old house on the edge of town. Since everyone there was scarfing down fast food, guzzling beer, and smoking like a fiend, let’s just call it WFAT. Or we could go with WYUK. WBIG. WCIG. WSUD. You get the picture. Anyway, I met this guy at W.C. Don’s (Remember? Home of big-arm-dancing and where my friend hit on Michael Stipe?), and he told me he was a deejay at WFAT and could get me an internship (um…unpaid) for the summer. WOW! I was so excited! I wasn’t too impressed with the easy listnin’ music they played, but what the heck, it was RADIO!
So I showed up, all eager, ready to learn the ropes and picturing myself as one of those ultra-cool female deejays with the deep, sultry voices. Not that I have a deep, sultry voice, but I thought maybe I could develop one. Imagine the let down when I was instructed to take the order for the first round of Krystals. And the Benson and Hedges. And the Budweiser and so forth. And when that was done, there was nothing else for me to do, except try to avoid the other female that worked there, because she seemed to hate me with a burning passion. I guess there was only room for one female deejay per radio station, and she was there before me, so I was an interloper and a potential threat to her radio stardom. Anyway, I’m sure she rejoiced greatly when the summer ended and I was relieved of my duties to return to college. I know I did.
A deejay story by the great Harry Chapin…
And not only did we have a kick-ass radio station, but the founder of MTV, Robert Pittman, was born in Jackson and grew up down the road in Brookhaven, Mississippi. That’s between Jackson and Granny’s swamp. Here’s the first song played on MTV, and a fitting one it was, too.
Questions? Comments? Please Share!
And a shout out to Vis – thanks for reading! But the answer is no – I’m not in the study board biz anymore. lololol…