The year was 1988, I was in Junior High School and working on building a brand for myself. I was already doing small parties for some of the area high schools and working with various radio stations in the city, but at the time I was vying to solidify my spot on the radio.

There were two radio stations in Meridian that were making some noise, and I was trying to get on one of them. I assumed that I knew what I was doing and had done enough parties and talked to myself on several occasions like I was on the radio, but this would have been the ultimate opportunity for me to be on the radio in my hometown. I have to admit, there was a bit of ego in me because I was already known from working with a local gospel station and from people knowing I deejay'd at various parties, so you couldn't tell me nothing.

I finally got the call to get on the radio with WQIC, which was known as Magic. The call letters had been around for decades, and were previously on an AM frequency that had finally been granted a license to broadcast on FM. This was a monumental moment for this station, which was known in the community as being the station to go to when it came to getting the information out to listeners. The Program Director for the station was Larry Carr, who had a reputation for being a stern individual, but was also very knowledgeable to many in the radio game. I'd helped out Larry and the staff for a lot of the back-to-school dances they used to do, and was known in the building for being very inquisitive on the phone. (And sometimes an annoyance, I'm sure.)

So when I got the call, I didn't think much about it, but he told me that one of the employees wasn't going to make it into work, and he wanted to see if I would be available to come in and work the overnight shift from midnight til 6 in the morning. I could hardly obtain my excitement!

As soon as I got off the phone, I told my mom and went to school on that Friday telling everyone to listen in to the radio that night. While I thought that I was ready, I was not prepared for what was to come next. I became nervous, and I mean really nervous. I distinctly remember not being able to move far from the restroom. I remember when I came home from school, I literally went to the bathroom four times before it was time to make my official debut on the radio.

I was set to make my official debut at midnight. This was normal for first timers in radio back in the day. Not only was I nervous, but it didn't make things better that everyone who worked with me including my family was listening to me on the radio for the first time. The time came for me to talk and while I was nervous and fumbled over a few words. They finally came out of my mouth and I was able to finish what I had to say and turned the microphone off. That was officially the beginning of a career that has currently spanned over two decades and I still love it just as much today as I did then. Every now and then I think about when I first started and smile, because if it wasn't for that employee calling in sick, I possibly wouldn't be where I am today.

Erik Tee/107 Jamz

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