Y-Rock On XPN is an alternative rock radio show on WXPN that has carried the Philadelphia Y100 brand that originally aired on 100.3 FM. (The Y100 brand in Philadelphia has no relationship to the Y100 station in Miami, Florida.) It broadcasts Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday nights on 88.5 FM, and 24/7 on 88.5 HD-2 and online at yrockonxpn.org. The radio broadcasts are transmitted live through the online service.
As of May 16, 2007, Y-Rock On XPN has competition in the Philadelphia market with the introduction of Radio 104.5 from Clear Channel Communications.
Before Y-Rock, There Was Y100
Y100 had the call letters WPLY, and started out as a CHR
and changed to an alternative rock radio station in the United States
that broadcasted from 100.3 FM in Philadelphia
and the surrounding Delaware Valley
1993-1995: The New Sound of Y100
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 MC ("Connected"), and Haddaway ("What Is Love").
Conflict with Z100 in New York
The callsign WPLY was first used on April 19
. 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 their name due to the proximity of the two stations. (Until Y100 increased their signal strength in 2003, Z100's signal would override Y100 as far south as Bucks County, Pennsylvania
in New York
1995-2005: Y100: Philadelphia's New Rock
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 jocks such as "Barsky in the Morning" (who was fired in 1995) 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
In 1997, another Philadelphia rival station Q-102
changed format from rap to top 40 with the slogan "The Switch Is On", 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
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
, Y100's only competitor flipped to Hip Hop
and became WPHI
103.9 The Beat
. Many WDRE employees and staff then got jobs at Y100 working in Media, PA
. 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.
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
, 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. 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
In 2005, the Y100 format was terminated and the frequency was taken over by 100.3 The Beat
, a Radio One
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, When Y100 went off the air it left the Philadelphia area with no alternative rock format, 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 broadcasted 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 formated commercial mega-hits of modern radio.
2006: Y100Rocks.com becomes Y-Rock On XPN
As of August 1
, 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 Jim McGuinn, former Y100 program director and Y-Rocks current program director.
On their first night, Wednesday, August 30th, the first song Jim McGuinn played was "Alive" by Pearl Jam, the same song that Y100 ended on.
Post-Y100 Market Competition
Ironically around when Y100 became WPHI
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, Trick Trick, "Hollaback Girl" and Akon (which were not typical Y100 songs). Today, Q102
is back to being rhythmic leaning top 40.
- ''"... [n]ow, 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 for example, Rick Derringer would have been played back to back with The Killers.
Beginning on May 16, 2007, Y-Rock On XPN gained more direct competition in the market with the introduction of Modern Rock WRFF Radio 104.5 from Clear Channel Communications. A small competitor to Y-Rock also sprung up in the form of modern rock AM station WHAT-AM 1340, known as Skin Radio, however it was short-lived as the format lasted only seven months before switching to Adult Standards.
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.
- The Weekly Eleven airs every Thursday night at 9PM with the top 11 alternative rock songs based on voting from the website. The voting is also used to promote the station as well as enter listeners into the contest.
- The Nooner is a daily program featuring classic alternative rock that airs from 12-1PM. The Case of the '90s Nooner with Josh T. Landow airs on Mondays, while Jim McGuinn hosts the Old School Punk Rock Nooner on Wednesdays.
- Passport ApprovedImports from across the pond. Hear new music from the UK, Australia, Sweden, Scotland, and more...Tuesdays: 10-11:30pm, hosted by Sat Bisla
- The Y-Rock Philly Local Show airs on Sundays from 8-10PM and weeknights from 2-3AM. The show features music from local artists, musicians and bands.
- The Sonic Session Shuffle, airing Sundays from 9-11AM, features music from over nine years of exclusive performances recorded at then-Y100 studios.
- The Circuit airs Saturdays from 10PM-midnight and features alternative and progressive rhythms ranging from ambient to industrial to trance to mash-ups.
- Land of the Lost airs the last Friday of the month on 88.5 HD-2, FM and online.
- Noise Complaint airs Mondays from 10PM-midnight and features the best of punk rock, old and new.
- Y-ROCK Internacional airs Saturdays from 5PM to 7PM and features the new, old, best and coolest alternative music from the farthest locales in the world including, to name a few, Brasil, Argentina, India, Mexico, Italy and many more. Curated by Ramon "ElRock" Martinez.
Deejays & On-Air Personalities
- Jim McGuinn (Y-Rock Program Director)
- Josh T. Landow
- Joey O.
- Adam Blyweiss
- Jeff St. Pierre (hosting Noise Complaint)
- John Vettese
- Jameson Parker
- Matt Summers
- Matt McGrath
- Jake Rabid
- Ramon "ElRock" Martinez
- Robert Drake
- Mike K.
- Jess Cross
- Eric Schuman
- Mandy Dollar
- Andrew Davis
- Robert Drake
- Rob Wilcox
- Jared Styles
- John Bartol
- Liz Romaine
- Billy D.
Other alternative rock stations near the Philadelphia area
- Radio 104.5 is the newest modern rock outlet in Philadelphia.
- Graffiti Radio (Delmarva Broadcasting Company) is an alternative-rock station available on 93.7 HD-2 and graffitiradio.com, based out of Wilmington, Delaware.
- Sirius Satellite Radio and XM Radio both have an alternative rock station.
- G Rock Radio covers Ocean and Monmouth counties on 106.3FM and 106.5FM.
- WHAT (AM) Skin Radio was a Philadelphia-area Modern Rock station, until a switch to Adult Standards after only seven months of alternative.
- WYSP and WMMR also play music on the harder or metal end of the alternative spectrum.