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WJDX-fm/WZZQ    2.
--one of a short series of ads, The Kudzu, December 9, 1968
from my personal collection
Did we call them "jocks"?  Or did we call them "announcers"?  The term was used interchangeably in the aforementioned; however, "jocks" just never sounded quite right to me in describing on-air personalities of  "underground" rock stations.  I think part of the reason is that this new kind of format was so very different from top-40:  delivery was deliberately laid-back, as if carrying on a quiet conversation or telling an intriguing story.  (Most of us were laid-back in those days--that was the culture, that was the lifestyle).  These on-air people were not hired because they had great sets of "pipes", they were hired because they knew the music, and they knew the spirit in which it should be presented. (1).  This music was never meant to be formatted as if it were top-40, yet there were stations in some of the larger cities which did just that during this same time period, complete with a bouncy dj--all "underground" music all the time on AM radio, what a horror story!     
Whether they were "jocks" or "announcers", the air staff (as it stood early in 1969) at WJDX-fm included
Bruce Owen, Fred Mitchell, Terry Stenzel, and Art Reed
. (3).   There was also Phil Seymour:
"That's Phil Seymour on the right.  Would you rather he be watching:  (1) a clock; (2) a Top 40 chart; (3) his own personal visions, sending them out to you through the air?  See page 8 for the Army rap."
--The Kudzu, December 9, 1968.
from my personal collection
Now, I don't know what is meant by the "something clamps down" or "sounds have been stifled" in the above article which was written not too long after the time of the format's debut at the station.  I am in the dark here, because I didn't listen to WJDX-fm much at all so early on, as it took me quite a while to acquire a taste for the music--the station sounded "weird" to me at the time, and that's because the featured music was so new and different, and I just wasn't into it quite yet.   At any rate, the alleged clamp-down certainly couldn't have lasted that long, and besides, the station was still in infancy, seeking the correct formula.  (I think it goes without saying that, even with "free-form", there had to be some ground rules).  Anything's possible, though:  a dj could have had a "momentary lapse of reason" , the result of which was a temporary overall format "clampdown", or maybe the higher-ups submitted to some sort of pressure to stop playing that "hippie music".   That's all pure conjecture on my part, and we'll probably never know what this "controversy" was really all about.

Phil Seymour, by the way, was one of the minds behind the idea of establishing the new music format at WJDX-fm.  He and another young man named Fred Mitchell had experienced what was happening on the West Coast at pioneering free-form stations such as KSAN San Francisco, and they thought the format might work in Jackson.  (1)  (2).  The fact that they were able to convince management to make the change is somewhat of a miracle and a fortunate "quirk"--consider that this was Jackson, Mississippi (of all places) during a politically and culturally repressive period (1968) and that the ownership of the station was, in a word, conservative. But regardless of all that, the new format was put in place, and WJDX-fm became one of the first stations of its kind, not only in the South, but in the entire country!  It would continue as "WJDX-fm, 102.9, The Rock of Jackson" until sometime in 1973 when the calls were changed to WZZQ.
My own memory of WJDX-fm's first two or three years is rather fuzzy, especially regarding the time-lines of the various on-air personalities.  But David Adcock attributes the development of what later was to be WZZQ to "a blonde, bearded Vietnam veteran named Curtis Jones, who was known on the air as Sebastian".  (1).   In accepting operation of the station, he was a "natural leader" and was able to instill in the staff the elements of pride in the job and obligation of quality to the audience. (1).   (The only aircheck I've been able to locate to date of WJDX-fm is a short one-minute bit of Sebastian from December, 1972). 
PAGE 3
footnotes:

1.  Capital Reporter, ibid (previous page)

2.  E-mail, (Adcock), ibid  (previous page)

3. E-mail, Bruce Owen, 8-26-2001

    (Some observations and opinions are my own).


--created 16 March 2001
SF
--slightly modified 26 August 2001
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