100.3 WPLY Philadelphia – 4/24/2000 – Matt Cord/Lee Ann Curtis
Alternative Rock Radio in Philadelphia has always flowed differently than the majority of the country.
Thanks to the lack of a mainstream CHR for much of the 90’s and a very strong Howard Stern powered Active Rocker in 94 WYSP, Y100 had a broader demographic mix than most. Evolving from Hot AC in 1995, Y100 would not rise in popularity until crosstown 103.9 WDRE was sold to Radio-One and flipped to Urban in early 1997.
Y100 did have deficiencies in its signal especially in the northern suburbs due to being on the same frequency as Z100 New York which kept ratings low. The launch of Modern AC “Max 95.7” in September 1997 didn’t help nor did “Q102” finally filling the Mainstream CHR void. Y100 itself would be sold to Radio-One in December 1999 but would remain Alternative until 2005 due to its strong in-demo numbers and billing. It would meet its demise when morning hosts Preston & Steve left for crosstown 93.3 WMMR where they would quickly become the top music morning show in town following Howard Stern’s departure. Alternative Rock would not return to Philadelphia until 2007 when Clear Channel filled the void with “Radio 104.5” WRFF, which kept Y100’s female friendly approach to quickly become a Top 10 stalwart in the market.
This aircheck from Y100’s heyday features Matt Cord and Lee Ann Curtis. Cord now hosts nights on WMMR and is well known in the city for his long run as the public address voice of the 76ers basketball team. Curtis left WPLY a year after this aircheck for DC101 in Washington where she would spend a couple years. This recording was from around the time that Limp Bizkit and Kid Rock style Rap/Rock was taking hold, yet Y100 still was able to mesh them in with the likes of Dave Matthews and Guster.
By late 1995, under PD Garett Michaels, Y100 was scoring Arbitron TSL shares just above 4 and their cume was tied with 93.3 WMMR. Y100’s Barksy In The Morning also scored respectable numbers, behind Howard Stern. Meanwhile, 103.9 WDRE usually averaged between 2 and 3 shares under PD, Jim McGuinn. In 1996, Michaels left Y100 for a PD job in Detroit, just as 94 WYSP flipped from Classic Rock to Alternative (quickly evolving to Active Rock a few months later). John Knapp came in from Hartford to be Y100’s new PD, but he tried to be more hip than ‘DRE and the ratings took a nose dive. Knapp lasted less than three months. When ‘DRE was sold and flipped to Urban, Jim McGuinn was hired as Y100’s next PD, bringing most of the former ‘DRE staff with him, including Bret Hamilton, who was part of the original Y100 line-up. In 1997, 94 WYSP (now playing Active Rock with Howard Stern mornings) became the 12+ number one rated station in Philadelphia (tied with KYW). With competition from WYSP and WMMR, plus limited signal issues in Bucks County, Y100 continued until 2005, usually averaging around a 3 share.