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July 4, 2010 / Ryan Cohick

A conundrum as Y-Rock on XPN suffers cutbacks


I’m still trying to wrap my brain around this, but I just discovered that the weekly “Y-Rock on XPN” programming on WXPN out of Philadelphia is being canceled. This means that Y-Rock won’t exist at all over traditional FM airwaves. Fortunately, for now, it looks like Y-Rock will still be available via livestream on the net and as XPN’s HD 2 station.

In addition to the cancellation of programming, prominent members of the Y-Rock team, such as Josh T. Landow, are being laid off.

In light of this news, I’m faced with quite the Catch-22: Is it worth becoming a member of XPN if the station is chipping away at what I like and admire most about it? More after the jump…

The beginning

I discovered Y-Rock when XPN boosted their presence in Central Pennsylvania. Back then, I was making some money driving the student shuttle for college. Every Friday, I would shuttle students around Elizabethtown while listening to “Y-Rock on XPN.” The show gave me something worth listening to for three hours and introduced me to the most new music that a radio station ever had.

After graduating, Y-Rock’s web stream became my cure for the afternoon slump at my 9-6 day job (as many of you know, I’m a night owl and suck at working normal business hours). Again, I continued to discover new music and bands in a manner that is nearly unheard of these days: Organically via an actual alternative radio station with real-live DJs that could weigh in on what was good and what wasn’t.

So why didn’t I ever become a member of XPN?

Unfortunately, money has always been tight. After I lost my day job (don’t worry, it wasn’t because I couldn’t stay awake), I wasn’t sure what role Y-Rock and XPN would play in my new night owl working life. From there, I continued with my dream of moving out of my mom’s house into my own apartment, which added to the tightness of the money. Unfortunately, luxuries like supporting public radio never materialized.

In a way, I guess this can be looked at from the other side. How many other post-college-aged guys are going through the same grind to make ends meet with little wiggle room for a public radio membership? Perhaps that’s why Y-Rock is on the cutting block: The audience it’s reaching just isn’t able to support it financially.

Will I still consider becoming an XPN member?

If I knew, right now, that my money would ensure that Y-Rock will continue, I would become a member in a heartbeat. But now I question the very fundamentals of why I should become a member.

Don’t get me wrong, XPN sans Y-Rock isn’t a terrible thing. New music still ebbs and flows across the airwaves. It’s just much more alternative-driven as opposed to being indie-driven. And that worries me. Why give money toward a cause that may not broadcast what I’d be paying for?

Out of that stems another question that some of you might be able to help me with: If I decide to become an XPN member, is there a way to specify that I want my money to support just Y-Rock?

The final reason I hesitate to get a membership now is that I worry Y-Rock won’t be around much longer. Is it worth becoming a member even if XPN decides to get rid of Y-Rock altogether in the near future?

The future?

The quandaries presented above leave me with one last lingering question: Can Y-Rock be saved?

I think, without a doubt, the answer to that question, no matter the hurdles, should be ‘yes.’ The station has been on the chopping block before, and it most likely will be again in the future. Although I don’t doubt that XPN is regretting the cutbacks, I hope they’re able to allocate enough resources to continue such a valuable tool for entertainment and music discovery well into the future.


As I think about the situation and hopefully learn a little more (does anyone know if there’s an official press release?), I’ll revise and update this post. Feel free to leave comments, opinions and anything else related to this topic.



Leave a Comment
  1. Baby Girl / Jul 4 2010 8:49 am

    Ryan, I don’t think you could specify where you want your money to go. I’m pretty sure pledges go directly to general operating costs, not to specific programs. However, I’m really sad to hear this because Y-Rock is one of my favorite programs on XPN. I did become a member last fall after my first paycheck, and this might weigh heavily in my decision to do so this year when my membership expires. I bet a lot of younger people support XPN because of Y-Rock, and maybe it will be to their detriment that they’ve taken it off the air.

  2. Ray Hathaway / Jul 8 2010 11:12 am

    Yo Ryan, I hear ya’. I, too, felt a big loss when WXPN recently canceled the YRock broadcast. Yes, it’s still available online but I’m just not big into streaming.

    In its overall context WXPN is the best at what they do in the NATION… period. For the most part I rarely stray. That said, I have found that the commercial station, WRFF/104.5 has picked up the slack with a YRock-like format… and with the fewest commercials of any other station. As you know, Y-100 was also a commercial station at one point so ads shouldn’t be a problem — especially with so few of them. You might want to check RFF out. Good luck.

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