WQID-FM: the Gulf Coast’s Radio Legend

Every so often a really good thing happens in a specific medium. The technology, people and pop music of an era cross paths at an equilibrium and something special comes about. For what was once called the ‘Golden Gulf Coast’ of Mississippi the special era referred to here, is the life span of WQID, that mammoth radio station that rocketed over the Coast airwaves in the days of big hair, live talent and when you could actually make out the instruments being played on top 40 cuts. This was an era when computer chips actually ‘assisted’ the DJ, an actual person that ran the board, worked the phones and cued carts or records. Oh did I mention, this DJ broadcast live? There where many DJs that passed through QID and they weren’t afraid to open their mouths and be creative, entertaining to the listeners ears. They also weren’t afraid to provide information of use to the listener, even if that information didn’t have a sales pitch attached. In remembering WQID I recall a few specific thoughts that show the great caliber this station was at, even as the rocket ship ride came towards an end. There was this great promo telling listeners to watch out for QID’s new electric blue Ford Explorer on the roads; There was a time not once, but twice QID’s morning man broadcast live from the foot of the I-110 overpass in Biloxi to promote driver safety after several accidents had occurred there; Then there was that night that a rather severe thunderstorm moved over The Coast, the lightning was constant, the wind blew and the rain was heavy. I was only in 5th grade at that the time and only a year from QID’s demise. But in those early morning hours on that stormy day WQID was there, doing what commercial radio is charged with doing, serving the public interest. Between every song the DJ came on with updates on the storms path and when the tornado warnings came in, he gave constant information and advised people in the path to get under furniture. At some points he himself sounded nervous and as if he where under the control board during songs, but this DJ carried through and continued to provide important weather information to the listener as this storm passed through the area. Some years after QID disappeared from the airwaves I began to see its legacy. There where old QID bumper stickers I would see faded into the metal of lockers at school and I even came across an old newspaper clipping that had QID’s top 10 of the week! In seeing this, I also noted that there were not any tributes floating around to current stations, but I also remember none of these stations making radio entertaining or taking the medium to the level QID did. That is what really ingrained the legacy of WQID for me, how much radio programming changed, how it was once exciting and cool to turn on. Hearing great promos, music and DJs that where truly worthy of the title ‘personality’ and how that contrasted with today’s offering of radio where the computer does everything, most the air talent has never been to the towns they broadcast in via voice tracking and nothing gets mentioned on air that does not generate $. WQID was one of the finest there will ever be and those fortunate enough to have been part of that rocket ship ride should know how much there work and talent has not been forgotten. The legacy lives on and it grows deeper as we remember what we used to listen to. It was a combination of technology, talent and music all being in the right place at the right time. While the sun may have set on QID’s time there is certainly still hope that the legacy built will inspire another combination that will let future generations know of the mammoth radio rocket ship we once had.

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