Words can not adequately describe the feeling you get when you hear a song for the first time and really dig it. It seems as if somebody snuck into your soul, stole a piece and wrote a song about it. You then rewrite your existence from that point forward; the past no longer germane to this suddenly illuminated present.
For thousands in the Philadelphia region, I think that was the allure of Y100. The station brought eclectic and alternative music to the forefront. It showed us a side of ourselves we never knew, but were damn happy to find. And then it vanished, gone in the blink of an eye, helpless prey to a mainstream monster.
Since Y100’s termination in 2005, the alternative station’s brand has taken on several identities including Y100rocks.com and Y-Rock on XPN. While these ventures nobly carried the Y100 torch, they too succumbed to a system in which the true spirit of alternative radio is inevitably suffocated.
Josh T. Landow, a longtime player behind the Y100 scenes dating all the way back to its days on 100.3, was released from Y-Rock on XPN when the station was forced to make budget cuts in 2010. Landow took the lay-off as an opportunity to resuscitate the Y100 spirit and created Y-Not Radio, an internet station devoted to introducing new music and honoring the alternative classics. Landow and his staff of loyal volunteers broadcast straight from his West Philly living room.
We caught up with Josh to discuss Y-Not Radio and hear his thoughts on the current radio culture.
Aroundphilly: Y100 remains a Philadelphia icon for so many people well after switching formats. What made the station so special for you?
Josh T. Landow: I guess I have a different perspective on Y100 than most people because I was involved behind the scenes. Before I worked there, it was special to me because it was the only station in Philly (after WDRE went off the air) to find new music and I’ve always been eager to hear new things. When I worked there though, it was very special to me because I was one of the people responsible for bringing new music to people’s ears and into their lives. It was also very much a family for me.
AP: When you started Y-Not, what were your dreams and plans for the station?
JTL: When I started Y-Not, it was in the aftermath of losing a job and having the former incarnation taken over by people who didn’t have respect for the legacy of Y100. It had always been my dream to be able to preserve that legacy, so I created Y-Not Radio as a means to continue what I had been doing for years prior. Essentially, I didn’t really think of Y-Not as a new station, but as the proper continuation of Y100 and Y-Rock.
AP: What has been the most difficult aspect of running Y-Not?
JTL: Building awareness of our existence has certainly been the most difficult thing. Even though we all are doing what we’ve been doing, we weren’t able to just take all our listeners with us, so we’ve really had to pound the pavement to let people know that we’re still around. We’re out at shows all the time and we really have utilized social media like Facebook and Twitter a lot. Without those it would have been much, much more difficult to get the word out.
AP: What has been the most rewarding experience with Y-Not?
JTL: I think just the fact that we had all of our resources and funding taken away from us, other people were trying to hold onto our audience, but we’ve been able to prevail against all odds for a year now. That’s all because of my staff of truly loyal volunteers and because of our dedicated listeners. It’s extremely rewarding to know that all those people support what I do.
AP: At the moment, what is your favorite band?
JTL: My all time favorite band will always be Smashing Pumpkins. Currently though, I love the new albums from Pains of Being Pure At Heart, The Joy Formidable, Starfucker, The Wombats… Sorry I can’t pick just one.
AP: What is one band you wish would just disappear?
JTL: Neon Trees and Cage The Elephant
AP: If there’s one Philly band people need to hear but haven’t yet, which is it?
JTL: Again I can’t pick just one. East Hundred, Gang, Steve Goldberg and The Arch Enemies, Buried Bed, Turning violet Violet, Prowler, Creepoid, Nothing, Black Landlord…
AP: What do you the future has in store for Y-Not radio?
JTL: We’re putting on a couple showcases as part of the Philadelphia Film & Music Festival in September as part of our dedication to the Philadelphia local music scene. On Friday, September 24th we have a showcase with Steve Goldberg & The Arch Enemies, Turning violet Violet, The New Motels, and High Kick at The North Star Bar. And on Saturday, September 24th, we have The Swimmers, Adam & Dave’s Bloodline, and Creeping Weeds at Kungfu Necktie.