Infobox Radio Station
name = WXPN

city = Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
area = Delaware Valley
branding = "88.5 XPN"
slogan =
airdate = 1957
frequency = 88.5 (MHz) HD Radio
88.5 HD-2 for Y-Rock On XPN
format = Adult Album Alternative
erp = 5,000 Watts
haat = 280 meters
class = B
facility_id = 68229
owner = University of Pennsylvania
webcast = [http://www.xpn.org/listen_live/listen.php Listen Live]
website = http://www.xpn.org
callsign_meaning = W eXperimental Pennsylvania Network

WXPN (88.5 FM) is a non-commercial, public radio station operated by the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia that broadcasts a music format called adult album alternative (AAA). It may be best known for the "World Café" music program, which is distributed by National Public Radio to many non-commercial stations across the United States. While the university has been involved with radio since 1909 when a wireless station was located in Houston Hall, WXPN itself first came into existence in 1945 as an AM band carrier current station at 730 kHz. The call sign, which is often abbreviated to XPN, stands for "Experimental Pennsylvania Network". Its transmitter now resides in the Roxborough section of Philadelphia.


From its 10-watt FM birth at 88.9 in 1957 into the mid-1970s, WXPN was a student activity of the university and as it grew, the station initiated unique programming designs including one of the earliest free-form formats, Phase II, in the 1960s. In 1975, a controversial broadcast on the talk show "The Vegetable Report" led to an obscenity complaint with the FCC, which found the charges serious enough to decline renewal of the broadcast license. This incident (December 1975) marked the first time FCC had pulled a license on grounds of obscenity. But a citizen's group organized to petition the FCC to consider XPN's unique service, and with a pledge from the university licensee to create positions for professional staff to run the station, the FCC allowed the license to renew.

With this new staff of five managers, WXPN became a steady fountain of high-quality folk, jazz, new and avant-garde music and public affairs programming produced by a combination of Penn students/alumni and community volunteers. Veterans of WXPN that have gone on to notable achievements in other areas include Broadway producer/director Harold Prince (the station's first program director), NBC news correspondent Andrea Mitchell (former news director); jazz producer Michael Cuscuna (former DJ) and Echoes producers John Diliberto and Kimberly Haas (former producers of "Diaspar" and other XPN shows).

Shows that have been staples on XPN since the '70s include The Blues Show with Jonny Meister (Saturday nights), Sleepy Hollow (Saturday and Sunday morning quiet music shows), Star's End (ambient and space music Saturday night/Sunday morning) and Amazon Country (lesbian-oriented music and programming on Sunday evening). XPN also broadcasts the Folk Show with Gene Shay on Sunday evening, which started at WHAT-FM in 1962 and continued on WDASdn, WMMR, WIOQ and WHYY-FM but moved to WXPN in the '90s when WHYY changed to a talk format.

In 1986 the station qualified for membership in the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and began the legal process to move its frequency from 88.9 to 88.5 in order to increase signal coverage. In the 1990s the programming and personnel were shifted from its diverse volunteer voice to fulltime salaried programmers. Penn student radio activity is currently carried out on WQHS.

In 1988, WXPN started " [http://kidscorner.org Kids Corner] ", a daily interactive radio show for kids hosted by Kathy O'Connell. "Kids Corner" has won numerous awards, including the Peabody Award and the Armstrong Award.

In 2004, WXPN moved to new facilities at 3025 Walnut Street, where the radio station shares space with a music venue called World Cafe Live. (World Cafe Live is an independent corporate entity, and pays a yearly fee to license the World Cafe name from WXPN.)

Additional frequencies

The station has an additional full-time satellite, two translators and apart time satellite:

*WXPH 88.7 FM, Middletown, PA (York, Lancaster) [ERP: 7,000 Watts / HAAT: 217 Meters]
*W259AU 99.7 FM, Harrisburg, PA (Harrisburg) [ERP: 10 Watts / HAAT: 205 Meters] (Until 2007, the WXPH call letters were used on a WXPN satellite on 88.1 in Harrisburg. WXPN traded off that facility as part of a transaction that netted them the two stations shown above.)
*W285DH 104.9 FM, North Whitehall Township, PA (Lehigh Valley) [ERP: 13 Watts / HAAT: 83 Meters]

In addition, certain hours are simulcast via WKHS 90.5 FM, Worton, MD (Chesapeake Bay/Baltimore, Maryland area)

Featured programs

* World Cafe, hosted by David Dye. World Cafe presents new and significant music and the artists who create it.

* Y-Rock On XPN, a radio program featuring alternative rock music from the Y-100 Philadelphia brand. Also available 24/7 as the second HD radio channel.

External links

* [http://www.xpn.org/ WXPN 88.5]
* [http://www.xponentialmusic.org XPoNential Music]
* [http://www.worldcafe.org/ "World Cafe"]
* [http://www.yrockonxpn.org/ Y-RockonXPN]
* [http://www.upenn.edu/ University of Pennsylvania]


*Mackenzie S. Carlson (August 2000). [http://www.archives.upenn.edu/faids/upf/upf10.html Guide to the WXPN-FM Radio station records] University of Pennsylvania Archives and Records Center.


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