State’s oldest radio station quiet|WQBC shuts down after technical problems

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Mississippi’s oldest radio station is off the air again, but perhaps not definitely.

Michael Corley, whose Grace Media International owns the federal license for WQBC, broadcasting at 1420 AM, said today his first hope is to sell the FCC license and, if not, he may donate it to a nonprofit organization.

Corley, a veteran broadcaster, talk show host and syndicated Christian announcer, went through boxes of old radio equipment Monday evening before closing the doors of the station’s office building on Porters Chapel Road.

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“It’s bittersweet. We’ve accomplished a lot,” said Corley, president of Grace, parent company of WQBC.

The station, which has won more than 60 Mississippi Association of Broadcasters awards, went off the air Sept. 1 after being back for a month, Corley said.

Technical problems have continued to hinder broadcasting by the station, and, he said, led to his decision to close.

WQBC, which reputedly stands for “We Quote Better Cotton,” a reference to earlier days when farm market prices were essential information and were delivered by commercial radio faster than newspapers, was first licensed in 1928 in Utica. It later operated under a series of owners and locations, including at the former Vicksburg Evening Post building at 920 South St. During the heydey of radio, the station featured extensive local programming including concerts and recitals by local musicians.

This year programming has been off and on. The station returned to full-time broadcasting in August after being off air since May, while Corley said he focused on fine points with a license management agreement he had made with Debut Broadcasting in 2008.

While broadcasting through WQBC, Debut offered an ESPN sports talk format until May 1, Corley said.

WQBC’s most recent programming offered a traditional news/talk format including FOX News Radio, Brian and the Judge, John Gibson, Tom Sullivan and Alan Colmes, a local call-in medical program, “On Call with Dr. Dan Edney,” as well as local events and news.

GMI, a Christian based media company, has offered Christian talk radio through WQBC since 2004 and Corley has been an owner or partner in the station since 2001.

Several other radio stations continue to operate in the Vicksburg market on AM and FM frequencies.


Contact Tish Butts at