Left to right – Lindsey Hall, Bill Smith, Jim Myrick, Ellie Massey,
Tim “The Salesman” Gray, Jane Smith, Scott “Grey Wolf” Gray,
Lindsey Brown, Daniel Self, The Wizard, Paul “Dumpster Dawg” Davis”
Bill has worked in radio, off and on, for 23 years. He started his radio career at WMOX in 1983 as a weekend announcer. After graduating from Meridian High School in 1985, Bill decided to postpone college and work as an announcer for both WMOX and Q-101.
He left Meridian in 1989 to attend Millsaps College and then transferred, after one year, to Ole Miss where he completed a Bachelor of Arts (History and Philosophy) in 1994. During his time in Oxford, Bill worked for “The Voice of the Rebels,” David Kellum, at WQLJ-FM, and as an afternoon announcer at the university station, WUMS-FM. He also worked at two Oxford restaurants, City Grocery and The Downtown Grill and was a staff photographer for the Oxford American.
Bill moved to San Francisco in May, 1994, where he continued work in the restaurant business, employed two and one half years at The Caribbean Zone. Bill left beautiful S.F. late in 1996 to live in Nashville where he attended graduate school at Middle Tennessee State University while working nights at Nashville’s Belle Meade Brasserie as a waiter and bartender.
September 18th, 1998, his son, Mason Edward, was born in Saint Thomas Hospital. After Mason’s birth, Eddie Smith, Bill’s father and owner of WMOX, asked Bill to come to Meridian and manage the station. He agreed and the family moved to Meridian in late January 1999 where Bill is WMOX’s station manager and Mason recently celebrated his 12th birthday. In 2003, Bill had his second child. St. Patrick’s Day, Irene Mills was born in Meridian. Number three, Rosemary Jane, was born September 15th 2006.
Dumpster Dog started as a caller. He was so good we asked him to fill in one day and he’s been at WMOX ever since. Dumpster was retired from the car business before he came to WMOX. On most days, he holds court at Jean’s Restuarant downtown after “The Morning Show” is a wrap.
The brains behind the bunch at WMOX! She keeps everyone on their toes, makes sure all the paperwork is done, and makes some really great commercials! Ellie has worked at WMOX for over 15 years and if you want to get on the air, you’ve got to be nice to Ellie!
Jim has been working at WMOX for so long, there’s some discussion about whether the main show he does is called “Tell It & Sell It” or “Jim’s Show!” Jim is a master at working the boards and breaking in with weather & news when appropriate. There is no more calming voice than Jim’s when the weather outside is frightful. Jim is a big fan of Jimmie Rodgers and supports The Singing Brakeman Association with his whole heart. And don’t forget, when you hear thunder, you can bet, Jim’s on the job and got it covered.
In Memory Of Eddie Smith, Bill Whitworth & Mike Pierce
No discussion of the staff of WMOX would be complete without mentioning Bill Whitworth and Mike Pierce. Bill was a frequent co-host of “The Morning Show” with Eddie Smith and he was without a doubt one of the funniest human beings on the planet. Sharp witted and sharp tongued very little escaped being skewered by Bill Whitworth. But Bill always maintained his tongue firmly in his cheek and could get away with saying just about anything because everyone knew the truth, Bill was just a teddy bear at heart and was never happier than when he heard the sound of laughter. We miss hearing Billy Frank and if you do too, click the link below to hear one of the commercials he recorded:
Mike Pierce’s News and Commentary was simply one of the best five minutes of news you could ever hear. Mike’s dry sense of humor could have you needing to pull off on the side of the road to listen to the news of all things! Sometimes, Mike would play it straight and read the news story just as he wrote it and with the addition of just one word at the end of it you’d know exactly what he thought of the story. A tall man with long grey hair, he was hard to miss at any event and any politician could see him coming a mile away, but surprisingly they never ran. Mike was all about the news, but more importantly, he was all about the truth. Honest, funny, insightful, and full of trivial bits of information about everything, you never came away from a conversation with Mike without having learned something. Click the link below to hear one of Mike’s last news segments:
Both of these great radio personalities have passed away, but they are both remembered and cherished for their contribution to WMOX. WMOX is a greater radio station for having had them on the air, and just a little bit less without them. If it is true that radio waves go on forever in outer space, then the first words aliens may hear from the planet earth might be some joke that Bill told, or a commentary written by Mike. Both of them would be pleased.
In 2009, after 40 plus years of creating and producing the best Radio Programs in Meridian, MS, the voice of Meridian went silent. WMOX is what it is today, because of Eddie Smith and his understanding of how good radio is made and what listener’s really wanted to hear. The loss is profound and perhaps still too fresh to fully express. However, WMOX wants to thank everyone who extended their hearts to us during Eddie’s illness and after his passing. The history of Meridian Radio cannot be written without including Eddie Smith and he will be greatly missed by his family, both at home and on the airwaves. We miss you Eddie.
One thing is for sure, with Eddie Smith, Bill Whitworth and Mike Pierce all together in Heaven, God gets to wake up each morning to one of the best radio morning shows ever! We know it’s true, because for just a little while, we got to wake up with them too.
One of the most prominent names in Mississippi broadcasting is Eddie Smith. Eddie began working in radio in Greenville, MS and had been working as a salesman on the staff of WCMI in Columbus for five years prior to getting the opportunity to move to Meridian, MS in 1961. He had recently met, fell in love (at first sight!), courted and then married Jane when he was hired as the sales manager of WMOX in 1961 by then station manager Monroe Looney. Looney told Smith, “I just believe that you can outsell any of the sales people I’ve got and I’d like for you to give it a shot.”
The young Eddie Smith was very determined and excited by the challenge, so he accepted Looney’s offer and moved his new bride to Meridian, MS. It wasn’t long before Eddie “took on” the new Broadmoor Shopping Center with two scheduled live remote broadcasts from the brand, new business center. He involved all of the various merchants and retail businesses in the broadcasts as well as the center’s association group. To Monroe Looney’s surprise, Eddie’s first contract order from Broadmoor was $3,800.00, which was a huge contract back in 1961-62. The reserved, quiet Looney must have jumped up and yelled “Way To Go Eddie!”
In 1962, Eddie and Jane had their first child, “Little Ed” and over the next few years, had 3 more sons: Bill, Bob and Jonathan. The Smiths have been Meridianites for over 47 years and have been associated with WMOX the whole time. Eddie’s wife, Jane, worked at WMOX for 25 years and had two shows, “Time Out For Jane” and “Letters To Santa” that are still remembered fondly by Meridian residents. With Eddie’s son, Bill, now at the helm of “The Morning Show,” WMOX is definitely a family affair!
You could make the case that Eddie started talk radio because after he became station manager in the mid 1960′s Eddie began to focus the station on Public Affairs and airing lots of information about local events and charities. In 1968, Eddie started doing a radio show called “Two For The Road” with Steve Holland that would change the face of radio in Meridian and later would evolve into what we now know as “The Morning Show.”
The format was simple: put two people who loved to talk together and let them go at it. Invite local politicians, business leaders, event spokespersons, and charitable organizations to come in and talk about what they were doing the in community. Then, to spice things up a bit, take phone calls from anyone and let them comment on what was being discussed. It is simply amazing to think of how many people over the years have started their days with a cup of coffee and “The Morning Show.”
Eddie and Jane have always been committed to local events and charities and Jane’s show “Time Out For Jane” was just one more extension of this commitment. From 1980 to 1994, her Monday-Friday, 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. show featured Jane hosting guests from various walks of life. Jane promoted great causes like The Cancer Society, March of Dimes, church functions, or whatever interested her. At lot of kids have grown up in this town listening to Jane read their “Letters To Santa” on the radio and praying that Santa was tuning in! For many years, Eddie and Jane tag-teamed elections with Jane reporting remotely on “Election Returns” from the courthouse downtown. We call Jane “the sweet lady of radio” and WMOX and Eddie would not be the same without her.
In 1999, Eddie asked his son, Bill Smith, to move back to Meridian to manage the station and in 2000, they began to split the on-air duties of running “The Morning Show.” In 2005, Eddie retired from the venerable show. Whenever he sat in on the show after he retired, the topic of conversation was usually the same. Callers were always telling Eddie how much they missed hearing him since the last time he was on, and trying to get him riled up or laughing so he’d say something like “Oh, my side!”
Here’s a mix made by Bill Smith of some of the things you may have heard over the years including a song written and performed by Mike Pierce and commentary by Billy Frank: