I was the first PD & the first one on the air, along with Ron Livengood our GM at the time, when Q104 when on the air January 19th, 1976. Mike Holderfield, who became our engineer after we moved to Chestnut Street, turned me on to your site.
We actually started out on Rainbow Drive in the back of the WAAX building. The first studio was built in what was a make-shift bombshell studio. The walls of the room were a foot thick with concrete & steel and the room was built with federal money because WAAX was the primary EBS station for the area at the time.
Anyway, Palmer Boland was our engineer in the beginning & Mike was brought on board when we moved to Chestnut Street, to assist Palmer, but he was the main day-to-day engineer for The Q. And he was a GREAT engineer.
You are right, I am not sure those days could ever be duplicated. We had a GREAT staff. It was almost by magic.
I had been at WAAX & left for about three months & returned after a call from Ron Livengood, who told me they were going to change the FM signal over from automated Beautiful Music. Ron had tried to get me to stay when I turned in my notice at WAAX, but I was taking a PD position & told him I wanted to get me feet wet in programming more.
Little did I know Ron already knew what was about to change. When Ron offered me the job at the end of December 1975, he told me I had a little over two weeks to put together a staff. Man....what an undertaking. Ron helped with it. And I think we put together one of the best staff's I've seen in a long time. Everyone just seemed to mesh great with each other.
We were having fun on the air, and IT SHOWED. A lot of people told us at the time that we wouldn't probably do that much and we were all out to prove them wrong. A lot of folks worked a lot of long hours to accomplish what we did.
In the beginning, Ron handed me a Billboard magazine & told me to pick the Top 40 out of there, and I told him that if we were going to make a name for ourselves we couldn't do it that way. It just wasn't that simple.
And in the beginning, to be honest, a few questioned what we were doing, saying "You just don't do it that way". Well, that's what I wanted, and I think the other guys did too. If we did it the way everybody else did it, we'd be just another radio station. And to be honest, some things were trial & error. But we were allowed to use some gut feel in programming the station, and it worked. I can't begin to thank ALL of those who worked SO HARD to make The Q a success. And I want to thank YOU for making this site. I had no idea it was out there, until Mike e-mailed me. I really agree with a lot of what you said on your site. When you mentioned that Leo told you that he saw the desire & love for radio in you, I commend him for it.
That's exactly what we had time & time again, people with that same desire & love that made a difference. Leo was one of several people I hired that attended Jacksonville State. At the time, they had a great radio program & the students were able to hold different positions for a quarter & conduct the role just as if it were a commercial radio station. A lot of great radio folks came out of that program.
I've burnt your ears enough for now, but I intend on trying to send you some old pictures of the station if you'd like to have copies of them. I've even got a picture of the original studio the first week we were on the air. Again, thank you for creating this site. You've done a great job.