City’s oldest radio station changing ownership

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 19, 2001

Mike Corley, seated, and Jerry Rushing are buying Vicksburg’s oldest radio station, WQBC. (The Vicksburg Post/PAT SHANNAHAN)

[02/19/01] In about three weeks, Vicksburg’s oldest radio station, WQBC, will have two new owners, Mike Corley and Jerry Rushing.

WQBC has been a fixture in Vicksburg since 1929 when E.M. Pace and Willie B. Ford physically moved the new radio station from Utica to Vicksburg. They sold the station to the Cashman family and the Vicksburg Evening Post in 1931. The station was sold again in 1969. After that, WQBC went through other owners and was bought by Bill Stanford in 1988.

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Over the years, WQBC’s transmitter has been located on Porters Chapel Road in the original, small, white building Pace and Ford installed it in when they moved it here. The studios, however, have been in several locations: Washington Street between Veto and South Madison, in the Hotel Vicksburg, in the Vicksburg Evening Post Building on South Street at Cherry. Today, the studios are in the transmitter building on Porters Chapel Road.

When WQBC was moved to Vicksburg, the local economy was still heavily dependent on cotton. As a result, the station took the letters of its call-sign to come up with the slogan, “We Quote Better Cotton.”

Rushing and Corley together have nearly 50 years in the local and area radio business.

“I started when I was 16 in Louisiana working after school and on weekends,” Corley said.

He started as an announcer and on-air personality and got into programming about five years ago. He worked as director of operations for Boswell Radio in Jackson and Kosciusko before getting involved in the purchase of WQBC.

Rushing started in radio in Vicksburg when the late Bob Bishop owned and operated WKYV-FM. He rejoined Bishop when he started WBBV and worked there for 10 years.

The two partners in Corley Rushing Communications began the research and search for a radio station to buy about two years ago.

Corley Rushing has applied to the Federal Communication Commission to transfer ownership of the license. The partners are now in the comment period, when the FCC takes comments.

“About March 9 we come off the public notice part,” Stanford said.

The transfer to the new owners should be complete about the middle of March.

The new owners said they plan to use a news, talk, sports format for the station after doing surveys of listeners.

“We were amazed how dense the listening volume is and how loyal (the listeners) are,” Corley said.

They said they’ve found that listeners to talk-oriented stations are more attentive and are looking for something that is different from what they get from music-oriented stations.

WQBC has become affiliated with the CBS radio network for national news. For local news, Corley Rushing plans to provide locally produced broadcasts five times a day, as well as reports on breaking news.

There will also be a locally produced morning talk show with highlights of local news and local interviews.

For sports enthusiasts, Corley Rushing plans to continue broadcasts of St. Aloysius and Warren Central High School games as well as those of Mississippi State University. They also plan coverage of the National Football League in the fall.

“We also hope to get in the coaches for local coach shows,” Corley said, adding the station will broadcast the statewide high school scoreboard in season.

The talk-programming side will continue to offer listeners Rush Limbaugh and Ken Hamlin.