XPN2 Now Singer-Songwriter Radio: 24/7 Access To Songwriters Without Finding Their Socks On Your Floor
When you were young, if you wanted access to singer-songwriters 24/7, it would cost you half your bed, most of your food and probably your mental well-being. But that was before the internet proved itself of use for more than just porn. Wednesday, WXPN announced a format change in its streaming station, XPN2. The new station is called Singer-Songwriter Radio and the “brand new format is devoted to contemporary and heritage musicians whose music is rooted in the singer-songwriter tradition.”
We spoke with program director Bruce Warren and asked him to wriggle around in the question “What is a singer-songwriter?,” and his answer was as crystalline as any we’ve ever come up with. Though he admits that it’s “a very subjective set of criteria,” Bruce and his staff start with the universally accepted members of the tribe: Bob, Joni, Tom Paxton and “that whole 60’s crowd,” and then they build out to people who may be pushing the envelope of the form.
“Indie rock is dead, dude,” Warren continued, “and by dead, I mean it’s ubiquitous. Kim Kardashian is talking about Tame Impala. There are plenty of great bands like Civil Wars and The Lumineers making great music, and there are dozens of these incredible new artists, but indie rock? It’s dead. Aren’t Mumford and Sons playing two nights at the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden?”
Warren insists that the Singer-Songwriter sine wave is experiencing one of its periodic crests and there are just too many great songs being written to put them all on the 88.5 mothership: “There are so many great bands and so much great music on WXPN that we find ourselves playing less of the Singer-Songwriters and this is a way we can bring our listeners more of the music they want,” he said. This format reinvention is many months in the remaking, and Warren says he couldn’t have done it without his staff of youngsters keeping it real, yo. Bruce went on to rave about the pulse-fingering abilities of young Folkadelphia host, Fred Knittel. “Fred was a Drexel intern and a guy who really had a feel for the music. I said, ‘Dude, I need a new indie folk show and I want you to host it. You’ve got the music part, we’ll teach you the DJ part,’ and now Fred is not only hosting Folkadelphia but also putting on shows around town.”
For the moment, the station is just one pure, songwriter after another, but soon, all your favorite XPN jockeys will be taking a turn at the mic, making sure you know the difference between your rare Connor Oberst and John Prine cuts. And the music library will be pretty deep. XPN2 is gonna make use of the 20 years of World Cafe Live in-studio recordings and in the future, many of the live performances from Gene Shay‘s folk show will be in the rotation. The station will also slot rebroadcasts of WCL and Mountain Stage as well as Folk Alley and other shows.
You should also know that this station not only streams from your computer but is available on HD2 radio. The 2 stands for the number of people who own such radios, so if you’re that guy, or the other guy, tune in there. The rest of us will dig it here.