WXPN-HD2

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XPN2/XPoNential Radio
Wxpn logo.png
First air date August 2006
Format Adult Album Alternative
Owner University of Pennsylvania
Webcast Listen Live
Website [1]

XPN2/XPoNential Radio is an Adult Album Alternative radio station carried on the HD2 radio channels of WXPN FM in Philadelphia and WXPH in Middletown, Pennsylvania.

History of WXPN-HD2[edit]

From 2006 until 2010, the HD2 channel of WXPN carried the brand of "Y-Rock on XPN" which featured on-air personalities originally from Philadelphia radio station WPLY 100.3 FM, branded as "Y100". WPLY owner Radio One changed the station's format in 2005, ending the alternative rock format. Y-Rock on XPN was the latest incarnation of the Y100 brand until June 2010[1] that originally aired on 100.3 FM, which was the city's alternative rock station from the 1990s until 2005.

In 2010, WXPN-HD2 changed branding from "Y-Rock on XPN" to "XPN2/XPoNential Radio".

History of Y100: WPLY-FM at 100.3 FM[edit]

Y100 had the call letters WPLY, and started out as a CHR and changed to an alternative rock format that broadcast from 100.3 FM in Philadelphia and the surrounding Delaware Valley region.

1993-1995: The New Sound of Y100[edit]

Y100, with the call letters WPLY (FM), started out as a Hot AC music station competing with then B101, playing many soft rock songs. The slogan used to be :"NO RAP, no hard stuff, and no sleepy elevator music. Just the best songs on the radio. Y100..." There were some alternative songs at the time, but the playlist was overshadowed by many other songs from Ace of Base, U2, Stereo MCs ("Connected"), and Haddaway ("What Is Love").

Conflict with Z100 in New York[edit]

The callsign WPLY was first used on April 19, 1993. Prior to that date, the station was called Z-100 (with the call letters of WKSZ), which shared the name and frequency of WHTZ in New York City. The popular New York station demanded that the Philadelphia station change its name due to the proximity of the two stations. (Until Y100 increased its signal strength in 2003, Z100's signal would override Y100 as far south as Bucks County, Pennsylvania.)

1995-2005: Y100: Philadelphia's New Rock[edit]

Sometime in 1995, "Y100:The New Sound of Y100" became "Y100: Philadelphia's New Rock" to be accompanied by a gradual format change from Hot AC to the late alternative radio station format. By this time, the station featured many well-known DJs such as "Barsky in the Morning" and Matt Cord (now of WMMR), Bret Hamilton (now of WCAU-TV), and the popular Preston and Steve morning show (also now at WMMR), along with CaseyBoy. It now broadcasts in a partnership with WXPN radio.

The slogans/monikers used by the Y100 at this point were:

  • "Radio Philadelphia"
  • "New Rock for the New Revolution"
  • "Philadelphia's New Music Alternative"
  • "Philadelphia's New Rock"

Competition with Q102[edit]

In 1997, another Philadelphia rival station, Q-102, changed format from rhythmic CHR to mainstream top 40 with the slogan "The Switch Is On", and encouraged listeners of Y100 to call in and say "I switched from Y100 to Q102 because they are playing my favorite music". This lured many would be top 40 listeners in the market away from Y100 as Y100 was the closest radio station format to being top 40 at the time. Up until that time, the Philadelphia market had lacked a top 40 outlet since 1993 when Eagle 106 (WEGX) had flipped to a smooth jazz format.

Competition with WDRE[edit]

The station played Top 40 until it switched formats in early 1995 to Modern Rock in competition with WDRE. WDRE was sold to Radio One in 1997, and on February 7, 1997, Y100's only competitor flipped to Hip Hop and became WPHI. Many WDRE employees and staff then moved over to Y100. In 2001, independent station owner Dan Lerner sold Y100 to Radio One, who then moved the station to Conshohocken, PA, where the station shared an office with the staff of 103.9 The Beat.

FEZtival[edit]

Radio One targets African-American listeners, and specializes in urban format radio stations. As Y100 had good Arbitron ratings and made decent revenue, the station survived for four years despite broadcasting a format that the station owners had no interest in. The station continued to hold two large annual concerts, the FEZtival in the summer, and the FEASTival around Thanksgiving, as well as many smaller Sonic Sessions, in which major label artists would play in a small studio with a crowd usually numbering in the fifties. The lineup for the first FEZTIVAL in 1997 included Beck/Cheap Trick/Toad the Wet Sprocket/Cake/Luscious Jackson/Matthew Sweet/Kula Shaker/Paula Cole/James/Huffamoose/The Caulfields/Matchbox 20/Space/Squirrel Nut Zippers/Reel Big Fish/that dog. It took place at the Blockbuster 3 Sony E-Center in Camden, NJ. These intimate recordings, often acoustic, proved to very popular, and the station released a Sonic Session CD every year from 1996 through 2004. Y100 is also credited with being the first major market station to "discover" Good Charlotte after Washington, DC's 99.1 WHFS had been supporting them as a local act.

2005: Death of Y100: Replacement by WPHI, Birth of Y100Rocks[edit]

In 2005, the Y100 format would be terminated and the frequency was to be taken over by 100.3 The Beat, a Radio One affiliate.

The situation actually started in late 2004-early 2005, when Radio One decided not to match the contract offers given to popular morning show team Preston and Steve, and the morning show signed with the Greater Media. Preston and Steve's contract's with Radio One expired on February 24, 2005, and the live DJs stopped broadcasting in the early afternoon, leaving the broadcast on autopilot for the rest of the day. On February 24, 2005 at 11:50 p.m. EDT, Y100 went off the air after twelve years, when the stronger 100.3 FM signal was given to the station that was known as "103.9 The Beat". The final song Y100 played before it went off air was "Alive" by Pearl Jam.

Before control of Y100 was ceded by Program Director Jim McGuinn and the Y100 staff, the staff acted quickly by setting up a website called Y100rocks.com, and broadcasting promotions for the new website on-air until Radio One sent representatives to remove them and edit the final station playlist. Also, before access to computer terminals were denied, Josh T. Landow, on-air talent and web master for Y100.com, sent out emails to tens of thousands of members of Y100's "Instant Access" internet mailing list, informing them of the sudden station shut down and ensuing effort to set up Y100rocks.com as a platform on which to argue a case for alternative rock in Philadelphia.

Immediately after Y100's departure from the airwaves, Philadelphia became the only city with no alternative rock format radio station, making it the largest city in the country with no such music station (New York City's WXRK flipped from alternative to active rock on April 2005, leaving New York City as the largest market in the United States without an alternative station). Since the station closed, a grassroots effort to bring the station's format back was launched, and resulted in an online petition with roughly 70,000 unique signatures since February 25, 2005. The petition was an effort to demonstrate the staying power and desire for alternative rock in Philadelphia. Former Y100 Program Director Jim McGuinn and others involved with Y100rocks.com hoped to use the petition to lure another company, such as Greater Media or Nassau Broadcasting, to either create a new station for alternative rock in the city, or flip formats on an already existing station. Previous efforts for bringing back a popular radio station in the Washington, D.C. area, WHFS, led to the station's resurrection in January, 2005. Almost all of the former Y100 staff members have moved on to other positions both locally, and across the country. Y100Rocks also broadcast an online radio station stream, with live broadcasts by former Y100FM DJs and new online personalities on an average of 10 hours a day, as well as traditional radio promotional events, and concert ticket giveaways. The station could even be found on the iTunes radio under "Alternative." The online radio format has left the DJs free to play more alternative music, as opposed to the formatted commercial mega-hits of modern radio.

2006: Y100Rocks.com becomes Y-Rock On XPN[edit]

As of August 1, 2006, Y100Rocks.com joined the WXPN family. The 24/7 online stream of alternative rock music was rebranded as “Y-Rock On XPN.” The stream resides on the new XPoNential Music On Demand site and is accessible through XPN's various websites. A live broadcast show aired on both 88.5 FM and the Y-Rocks online stream is performed on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Friday nights, hosted by Josh T Landow, current operations manager.

On its first night, Wednesday, August 30, the first song Jim McGuinn played was "Alive" by Pearl Jam, the same song that Y100 (and former competitor WDRE) ended on.

2010: YRock rebranded as XPN2[edit]

In July 2010, financial troubles at WXPN led to the layoffs of the main Y-Rock staff members and hosts. XPN rebranded their alternative stream as "XPN2."[2]

Y100ROCKS.COM has been parked and now redirects to a pornographic search engine.

Post-Y100 market competition[edit]

Around when Y100 became WPHI, Q102's playlist shifted from rhythmic leaning top 40 to alternative leaning to capture stranded Y100 listeners. Instead of Q102 playing its usual rhythmic songs, one would have heard more songs from The Killers, Audioslave, and Puddle of Mudd in the same playlist as Rihanna, Gwen Stefani and Akon (which were not typical Y100 songs). Today, Q102 is back to being mainstream top 40.

"... Now, modern WPLY (Y100) is gone[,] Q102 is edging up by playing Weezer and Fall Out Boy next to Trick Trick and Rihanna...." (Source: http://www.edisonresearch.com/home/archives/2006/01/the_most_intrig_2.php ) as a response to the new Wired 96.5 eating into Q102's marketshare.

Also in response, WMMR added more alternative music to its playlist in addition to its mainstream rock format.

On January 19, 2007, AM station WHAT 1340, known as Skin Radio, became the first broadcast Alternative radio station in Philadelphia since Y100, however it was short-lived as the format lasted only eight months before switching to Adult Standards.

Beginning on May 16, 2007, Y-Rock On XPN gained much larger competition in the market with the introduction of Modern Rock WRFF Radio 104.5 from Clear Channel Communications.

Finally, in September 2007, WYSP changed formats from hot talk to mainstream active rock outside of drive times, leaning toward the hard or metal end of the alternative and rock spectrum, also as an indirect result of the hole left by the demise of Y100. However, as of September 2, 2011, WYSP is off the air, replaced by a sports talk radio station.

former Y-Rock logo used prior to 2010

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Dept. of Sad Face". Philadelphia City Paper. June 16, 2010. 
  2. ^ http://xpn2.org

External links[edit]