Alternative rock has been around for years – but it had been hard to find on the radio for Philadelphians in recent months. Thankfully, the Y100 alternative rock radio station officially has a place back on Philly’s radio dial as of Aug. 30.
During the one and a half years since Y100 was on the airwaves, listeners had to go elsewhere to find music, but it still didn’t come close to what they wanted.
Now, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays Y-Rock on WXPN (88.5 FM) will feature artists like Pearl Jam, The Ramones, The Replacements, Arctic Monkeys and Modest Mouse – and they were just the first five artists that got spin on Jim McGuinn’s inaugural broadcast.
“We hope to expand the selection of stuff we play,” said McGuinn, DJ and program director of Y-Rock on XPN. “[We’re] digging deeper on the big modern rock bands, uncovering new indie rock and local favorites and really exploring a wider variety than we were ever allowed to with Y100 itself.”
It’s only fitting that Y100 partnered up with WXPN, the member-supported radio station run by the University of Pennsylvania, to create Y-Rock. The WXPN slogan: “It’s all about the Music” was apparent at the resurrection party held at the World Cafe Live on Thurs., Aug. 31.
Around 7:30 p.m., music fans began to steadily flow in and by the growth of the crowd it was obvious that Y100 never lost its support. Whether it was the over-excited teenagers, college students, middle-aged nine-to-fivers or gray-haired rockers everyone was standing by the music.
“Even at our most conservative, we were miles ahead of what other rock stations in Philly were doing,” McGuinn said. “For the community of listeners that lost their media source, getting Y-Rock back on the air at 88.5 XPN is a big deal.”
When Y100 was taken off the air, Y100rocks.com was created in an attempt to continue supplying alternative rock you couldn’t find anywhere else. Despite a few drawbacks that came along with their streaming audio such as lower sound quality and the fact that it was only available online, there were positives.
“When we stopped being paid and started doing it for ourselves online, it went back to being a purely joyful experience, and that’s continued into our relationship with XPN,” McGuinn explained.
The programming quality and the overall experience was better for many. The webcasts also successfully opened new doors to listeners.
“I need a new way to hear artists,” 17-year-old Mike Dokas, from Malvern, Pa., said. “Y100rocks.com and Y-Rock was and will be that method for me.”
Since the content was not filtered, “The webcasts had more indie rock, which I liked, and the DJs were more personal,” added Jim Pollum, a sophomore civil engineering major.
The webcasts have also proven to be a business success story.
“Y-Rock and this story of a few dedicated staffers, volunteers, and listeners [show] that there are now rapidly becoming other ways and means to work around the corporate stranglehold on the media,” McGuinn said.
It’s been nearly a year and a half for Y100, but they’re finally at a place where they can play what they want without being concerned about what is deemed “attractive” to listener.
“I got into this because I love turning people on to new music or songs they haven’t heard before,” McGuinn said. “We look forward to utilizing XPN’s resources to do more than we could before,” McGuinn said.
“With more Sonic Sessions, cheap and free concerts and other cool ideas, we’ll help the Philadelphia music community grow and prosper.”
Chris Zakorchemny can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.