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WEXP
230
Broadcast area Philadelphia, PA
Branding La Salle University Radio
Slogan "Raise Your EXPectations"
Frequency 1600 AM (kHz)
First air date 1972
Format College Radio, Freeform
ERP 10-30 watts
Class Low-power AM (LPAM)
Callsign meaning WEXPlorers
Owner La Salle University
Website http://www.wexpradio.com
http://www.wexpsports.com

WEXP is a Philadelphia college radio station with a freeform format. It airs live on 1600 AM in Philadelphia and online.

Contents

History

Source[1]

WEXP opened its doors at La Salle University in 1972. Initially, the radio station could only be heard inside the Student Union building, and the start-up price for the station was around US$7,500 ($1,000 of which came through a donation from U.S. Ambassador to Britain Walter H. Annenberg). Airing on 640 AM, “EXPlorer 64” was founded as a co-curricular activity, and was tied directly to the Marketing Department and the English Department’s Speech and Drama course. Much of WEXP’s early programming featured commentary opposing the Vietnam War, and oldies music. Coverage of La Salle basketball was also aired live from as far away as Arlington, Virginia. The station only aired from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

After operating fairly successfully (despite a weak signal) throughout the 1970s, WEXP suffered what would arguably be its biggest setback in 1980. On September 15, a student installed a transmitter to WEXP’s existing antenna on top of the Union building. The student did so “without consultation” and “exceeded FCC capabilities”, according to federal documents dated in October. As a result of this setup, WEXP could be heard throughout the east coast. Listeners requested songs from as far away as Albany, New York, and the station could be heard as far south as Miami, Florida.

FCC officials in Washington did not press any charges, which could have included a $10,000 fine and imprisonment for a year. The incident forced the university to shut down the radio station entirely, and led to an apparent distrust of the student organization for many years.

WEXP was revived during the 1980s. The station featured mostly heavy metal music. This was in sharp contrast to previous formats, which included easy listening, adult contemporary, album-oriented rock, and freeform. After collapsing again in 1988, the station returned on 530 AM in 1989. “EXPress 530”, as the station was referred to, was again just a carrier current AM signal. In February 1988, the university had the opportunity to purchase WPWT 91.7 FM, and operate at an initial expense of $100,000. Many students, and most notably professors from the communication department, pushed for support of the project. The University Budget Committee, however, rejected the plan that would have given WEXP an FCC-regulated FM station with an annual operating budget of $50,000. Had the university allocated the funds to purchase the station in the late 80s, it could probably be sold today for over a million dollars. It was yet another major setback for WEXP.

In 1997, WEXP began simulcasting over La Salle 56 cable television, but the relationship between the two campus stations was short-lived. In 2000, a proposal to turn WEXP into a low-power FM station also failed. The station was forced to abandon AM radio in favor of broadcasting worldwide on the Internet beginning in the fourth quarter of 2002. The shift in focus re-energized the station by recruiting more members and boosting listenership both on campus and across the country.

WEXP now broadcasts 24 hours a day, 365 days a year via the Internet, and has over 80 members.

Its sports coverage is among the most extensive of any college radio station in the United States. WEXP airs nearly 100 live sports broadcasts every year for six Explorer teams, in four sports (soccer, basketball, and baseball. The school's American football program had their games broadcast, but was discontinued following the 2007 season).

After being relegated to internet radio since the fourth quarter of 2003, WEXP returned to the terrestrial airwaves at 1600 AM on August 19, 2006 at a Low-power AM (LPAM) signal of 10-30 watts[2]. The former carrier current broadcast on 530AM can still be heard in certain dormitories on campus.

In February 2007, WEXP announced a broadcasting agreement with Lala.com. [3].

Awards

On April 13, 2007 WEXP began an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for "Longest Radio Quiz", which was previously set at 30 hours.

In May 2006, the station won an award for Excellence in Broadcasting, from the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters [4] [5]. Play-by-play broadcaster Adam Bagni, color commentator Mike Petty, and sideline reporter Andrew Neumann were the individuals honored based on their work at WEXP[6]. The station won in the category of Best Coverage of a Local Sporting Event: Major Market for a January 21, 2006 NCAA basketball game between La Salle and Saint Joseph's University. The award was also split with Merrill Reese and Mike Quick of Free FM (WYSP) for their coverage of the Philadelphia Eagles american football team [7].

Notable Alumni

References

  1. ^ Grabenstein, Brother Joseph. La Salle University Archives. WEXP File: La Salle University, October 2005
  2. ^ Shannon Curley, WEXP approved to broadcast on AM airwaves, The Collegian, March 1, 2006
  3. ^ Erin Brodbeck, WEXP increases broadcast audience by streaming on national site , The Collegian, February 28, 2007
  4. ^ PAB Awards for Excellence in Broadcasting, Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters, May 22, 2006
  5. ^ Erin Brodbeck, Radio Station Wins Award, The Collegian, April 26, 2006
  6. ^ Dan Gross, Lachey, MTV'er Mixx it up: La Salle lads win Radio Award, Philadelphia Daily News, June 13, 2006
  7. ^ La Salle Student Radio Station Shares Top Award for Sports Coverage with Philadelphia Eagles Announcers by Pa. Association of Broadcasters, La Salle University Press Release, May 1, 2006

External links

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