David Dye has bolstered the national profile of Penn’s public radio station, 88.5 WXPN-FM, through his hugely successful radio show, The World Cafe (see Q&A, page 4). But ’XPN has a history that reaches back decades, as this edition of By The Numbers attests.
Year that a group of Penn engineering students founded an AM station and named it WXPN, for “Experimental Pennsylvania Network.”
Frequency, in kilohertz, of the station’s first broadcast, on Nov. 14, 1945.
Year the University stepped in and hired a professional station manager for the station, which until then had been entirely student run. The move came after a student engineer accidentally aired a profane phony advertisement during a soccer broadcast and accusations that ’XPN staffers were drinking and using drugs at the station offices.
Number of members of U2—guitarist The Edge and bassist Adam Clayton (no, not Bono)—who appeared on an early edition of World Cafe. Dye cites their appearance as an early turning point for the program, which debuted in 1991.
Total cost, in dollars, for renovations to the Hajoca Building, at 3025 Walnut St., which is now ’XPN’s home. The station moved into the beautifully restored building, along with restaurant-bar-music-club World Cafe Live, in 2004.
Originally published on December 7, 2006