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City of license Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Broadcast area Delaware Valley
Branding 88.5 XPN
Frequency 88.5 (MHz) (also on HD Radio)
88.5 HD-2 for XPN2
Translator(s) See tables below
First air date 1945 (carrier current on 730 AM)
1957 on 88.9 FM
Format Adult Album Alternative
ERP 2,650 watts
HAAT 365 meters
Class B
Facility ID 68229
Transmitter coordinates (NAD 27)
Callsign meaning W eXperimental Pennsylvania Network
Former callsigns WXPN-AM (1945-1980)
WQHS (1980-2003)
Former frequencies 730 AM (WQHS) (1945-2003)
Owner University of Pennsylvania
Webcast Listen Live
Website WXPN Online

WXPN (88.5 FM) is a non-commercial, public FM radio station licensed to The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania that broadcasts an adult album alternative (AAA) radio format, along with many other format shows. WXPN produces World Cafe, a music program distributed by NPR to many non-commercial stations in the United States. The station's call sign, which is often abbreviated to XPN, stands for "Experimental Pennsylvania Network". The broadcast tower used by WXPN is located at (),[1] in the antenna farm complex in the Roxborough section of Philadelphia.


  • History 1
  • Programs 2
  • Stations 3
    • Translators 3.1
  • WXPN-HD2 4
  • WQHS 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


While the University of Pennsylvania has been involved with radio since 1909 when a wireless station was located in Houston Hall,[2][3][4] WXPN itself first came into existence in 1945 as a 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 WDAS-FM, 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 from 88.9 to 88.5 on the FM broadcast band in order to increase signal coverage. Beginning the late 1980s, the programming and personnel were shifted from its diverse volunteer voice to full-time salaried programmers. Penn student radio activity is currently carried out on WQHS.

In 1988, WXPN started 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 for-profit entity that pays a yearly fee to license the World Cafe name from WXPN.)

In October 2015, WXPN and WNTI jointly announced a sales agreement for transfer of ownership of the Hackettstown, NJ, public radio station owned by Centenary College. The sale price is $1,250,000 in cash and another $500,000 in underwriting value over 10 years. A Public Service Operating Agreement enabled WXPN to begin using the WNTI transmission facilities to air WXPN programming, effective October 15, 2015.[5]


WXPN carries primarily locally originated programs, supplemented by a few nationally syndicated shows.[6] The station's weekday programs are all produced by its own staff, including World Cafe, a show developed and hosted by WXPN host David Dye and now distributed by NPR.[7] The station also produces most of its night and weekend specialty programs, including Kids Corner with Kathy O'Connell, The Geator's R&R, R&B Express with legendary Philadelphia DJ Jerry Blavat, The Blues Show with Jonny Meister, The Folk Show with Gene Shay and Sleepy Hollow, an early morning program of quiet music. The station's syndicated offerings include The Grateful Dead Hour with David Gans, The Many Moods of Ben Vaughn, Echoes with John Diliberto and Mountain Stage with Larry Groce.[6]

WXPN also broadcasts the Penn Quakers men's basketball games.[8]


One full-power station is licensed to simulcast the programming of WXPN full-time:

Call sign Frequency City of license Facility ID ERP/Power
m (ft)
Class Transmitter coordinates Notes
WXPH 88.7 FM (HD) Middletown, Pennsylvania 87834 7,000 vert, 75 horiz 216 m (709 ft) B Service Contour covers York and Lancaster

One full-power station currently has a Public Service Operating Agreement to simulcast the programming of WXPN:

Call sign Frequency City of license Facility ID ERP/Power
m (ft)
Class Transmitter coordinates Notes
WNTI 91.9 FM Hackettstown, New Jersey 9759 5,600 vert, 5,500 horiz 155 m (509 ft) B1 Service Contour covers Hackettstown, northern New Jersey and northeastern Pennsylvania.


WXPN programming is broadcast on the following translators:

Broadcast translators of WXPN
Call sign Frequency
City of license ERP
m (ft)
Class FCC info
W285DH 104.9 North Whitehall Township, Pennsylvania 13 105 m (344 ft) D FCC
Broadcast translators of WXPH
Call sign Frequency
City of license ERP
m (ft)
Class FCC info
W259AU 99.7 Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 10 209.2 m (686 ft) D FCC

From 1993 to 2007, the WXPH call sign was used on 88.1 in Harrisburg, now WZXM.[9] WXPN traded that facility to Four Rivers Community Broadcasting in return for 88.7 Middletown and W259AU.[10]

Portions of WXPN's schedule are simulcast on WKHS 90.5 FM, Worton, Maryland (Eastern Shore Chesapeake Bay and Baltimore, Maryland areas).


XPN2/XPoNential Radio is an Adult Album Alternative radio station carried on the HD2 radio channels of WXPN FM in Philadelphia and WXPH in Middletown, Pennsylvania.

From 2006 until 2010, the HD2 channel of WXPN carried the brand of "Y-Rock on XPN" which featured on-air personalities originally from Philadelphia radio station WPLY 100.3 FM, branded as "Y100". WPLY owner Radio One changed the station's format in 2005, ending the alternative rock format. Y-Rock on XPN was the latest incarnation of the Y100 brand until June 2010[11] that originally aired on 100.3 FM, which was the city's alternative rock station from the 1990s until 2005.

In 2010, WXPN-HD2 changed branding from "Y-Rock on XPN" to "XPN2/XPoNential

former Y-Rock logo used from 2006 to 2010
  • [2]


In 1970, WXPN-AM's operations moved from Houston Hall, directly in the center of campus, to 3905 Spruce Street. The FM radio station became entirely professionally run by 1980, while the AM radio station was still student-run. WXPN-AM then became WQHS, which stands for Quad Hill Superblock (referring to student dormitories on campus), housing mainly freshmen. As of September 2005, the radio station is located on the 5th floor of the Hollenback Center, on the far east side of campus.

In 2003, the WQHS radio tower, formerly on top of Harnwell College House, fell in a severe storm. As a result, WQHS now broadcasts exclusively over the Internet, in an eclectic freeform radio format.


  1. ^ "FM Query Results for WXPN, Federal Communications Commission". Retrieved 2014-08-28. 
  2. ^ "The Wireless Club Station - UP". Retrieved 2012-11-06. 
  3. ^ "A Brief History of the Club". Retrieved 2012-06-08. 
  4. ^ "The Wireless Club" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-06-08. 
  5. ^ "WXPN Picks Up Centenary College’s WNTI". Retrieved 2015-10-15. 
  6. ^ a b "WXPN Program Guide". WXPN  
  7. ^ "David Dye, NPR Biography".  
  8. ^ "Penn Basketball". Retrieved 2014-08-28. 
  9. ^ "Call Sign History". Retrieved 2014-06-27. 
  10. ^ "Northeast Radio Watch, Pennsylvania News". Retrieved 2014-08-28. 
  11. ^ "Dept. of Sad Face". Philadelphia City Paper. June 16, 2010. 

External links

  • Official Website
  • Query the FCC's FM station database for WXPN
  • Radio-Locator information on WXPN
  • Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WXPN
  • Query the FCC's FM station database for WXPH
  • Radio-Locator information on WXPH
  • Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WXPH
  • Guide to the WXPN-FM Radio station records
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • WXPN-HD2
  • World Cafe
  • WQHS home page
  • Query the FCC's FM station database for W259AU
  • Query the FCC's FM station database for W285DH

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