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          David Adcock
extensive additions and makeover coming Spring/Summer 2003.
--one of a short series of ads in The Kudzu, February 5, 1969
from my personal collection


We'll miss you, David.  But we won't forget you.  We always paid attention.
One fine day in the year 1968 in Jackson, WJDX-fm quietly installed a change in format.  For the nearly 20 years prior to that, "beautiful and easy-listening" music had been the station's agenda.  That all quickly became history when a young female announcer named Lucky Guy placed a record on the turntable, the title of which was "The Horse" by Cliff Nobles.  (1) (2).   (Strange first choice for the switchover, but I guess it had to start somewhere--and probably best to start not quite so heavy--this was, after all, Jackson, Mississippi)!   One of the rules laid out in the new programming called for one record from the old easy-listening format to be played each hour.  Very bizarre.  So, in essence, listeners might hear a long segment of psychedelic music followed by an Andy Williams song, then right back to the headier stuff.  (1).   But somehow, this little rule (which didn't last long) seemed not to matter that much:  the announcers were having a good time delivering the new sounds, and they learned to cope and fit these odd songs into their programs in a meaningful way.  One of the hallmarks of early "underground/progressive/free-form rock", actually,  was the announcer's generally total discretion to play whatever he/she wanted to, so it wasn't necessarily an oddity to hear such middle-of-the-road tunes from time-to-time.  There were but few rules in the early days; it was left to the dj to be responsible.  Unfortunately, at many, many stations of this genre, there were varying perceptions of
discretion and responsibility. 
Obviously, playing three straight hours of the Beatles or satisfying an announcer's own whim to play whatever was personally desired without some manner of regard for the audience or for quality was not a good thing for anyone.  (Such irresponsibility at some of these stations led to management-created playlists and more rules--and eventually to much tighter formats, signalling a general end to the free-form programming).  WJDX-fm apparently never had these unprofessional problems with its staff, though it is possible that there were isolated incidences of such indiscretion.  The announcers all took
in their unique freedom from the very beginning, a labor of love; they wanted very much for management to believe in them and take them seriously, and as a result of their own dedication to quality, the higher-ups basically left them alone to develop their own kind of radio, earlier as well as later (1).   As far as I'm concerned, the station only got better over time.  Even after the nationally- emerging "album-oriented rock" format took "underground" radio into the mainstream, WJDX-fm/WZZQ never seemed to be subject to such rigid playlists--the station continued on with its freedom while other similar stations lost it.  Though I know there was some tightening of rules and playlists as time went on, the station staff's on-going commitment was to excellence in 'the new' music.  They played a big variety, and they knew exactly what to play and when.   
How did such excellence evolve beginning with JDX-fm in the earlier days to ZZQ later?  For one thing, the announcers were all avid fans of the new alternative music, and they became experts in creating musical mystiques, moods, and medicine for the mind.  According to David Adcock, the jocks "would, indeed, play
as long as it achieved our rather arrogant standards of quality."  (1).  The emphasis, of course, was on the new breed of rock music, but other types were played; the only requisite was that it all fit. 
"Making it all fit together was what made ZZQ a great station.  And the deejays made it all fit." 
(1).  Such was possible because the jocks knew their music and were able to construct musical sets--music cuts related in some way by theme.  For example, there were artist sets--but beyond that, "rain sets, snow sets, wind sets, peace sets, walking sets, running sets, car sets, plane sets, train sets, and innumerable others". 
(1). It goes without saying that there also were the occasional war protest sets and drug sets, freedom sets and civil rights sets, "green" sets and anti-corporate sets, but
that's where our young collective psyche was at the time--and that's what the new music of that era was about.
--one of a short series of ads in The Kudzu, February 1969
from my personal collection

1.  Capital Reporter  (Jackson),  End Page, David Adcock:                            "The Old Days--When WZZQ Was Riding High", June 25, 1981

2.  e-mail from David Adcock to me February 3, 1999

    (Some observations and opinions are my own).

--page created 02 November 2000
updated 24 February 2001
amended 16 March 2001