WXPN - Host
A daytime TV airing of The Beatles’ movie Help and early re-runs of The Monkees imprinted a crucial thought deep in my then 4-year old brain: if you were in a band, you could live in a really cool house and make music with your friends. Fast forward past a dozen years of sports and forts and all the Brady Bunch-esque hijinks of an avocado and tangerine colored childhood growing up in Downers Grove, Illinois, leading to the moment the fateful day in 1982 during my first month at our high school radio station WDGC when I heard “A Town Called Malice” by The Jam (12-inch version, pink and black striped cover, extended “Precious” on the double-A side). I told my friend Nell it ‘sounded like The Who meets Motown.’ In those days we made our choices and wore our sounds on our hearts and on our sleeves. It became my Year Zero – I tossed out the classic rock (idiot!), leapt into the unknown, and after seeing The Clash at my first show (later learning this exact show radicalized Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello!), I carved a path into punk, new wave, ska, indie rock, and whatever sounded cool on college radio (ie, Hüsker Dü and The Replacements).
Like Jeff Tweedy I bought at Black Telecaster (for the same reason – because that’s what Joe Strummer played!) and I played in a band, worked at a record store, interned for labels (got to meet and work with U2, and R.E.M.), wrote for my college paper (got to interview Robert Smith), and I became a College Radio DJ (WPGU and WEFT). After college, I moved to Rhode Island, where I DJ’d at WWRX (welcome back Classic Rock) in the overnights, drove the station van during the day, and played Velvet’s covers in a band at night. Jumping into this fringe radio format called Alternative, radio took me to Vermont (WEQX) where I became Program Director in 1991 – just in time for Grunge, and I rode the updraft to St Louis (KPNT) and in October 1995 to Philadelphia and WDRE. We had two hilarious years before the station was sold off and flipped to hiphop, but most of our team went over to WPLY (Y100), where we started The Feztival, Sonic Sessions, and the Preston and Steve Show, and played a key role in the careers of artists like Weezer, Fiona Apple, Oasis, and Beck. At least until 2005 when Y100 was sold off and flipped hiphop too, after which we launched Y-Rock, which became Y-Rock On XPN (now Y-Not), which brought me to WXPN in 2006.
I had a blast at XPN the first time, eventually holding down afternoons in the Time Between David and Dan. I played in a band called Cordalene and got married to Christine and we had a son named Jameson, naturally. In 2009 we moved to Minnesota, and I helped a new(ish) station called The Current (KCMP) find its sound. Along the way I got to meet Prince, share Lizzo with the world, and learn to play hockey.
In 2022 we returned to Philadelphia, and I returned to WXPN. We arrived in time to see the first World Series since we left, see how much Philly’s changed (and how much it’s stayed the same), and get back to playing songs for XPN listeners, some of the smartest, most curious, and best musical friends in the world. It’s great to be back! When not at WXPN, I find my happy place in record stores, making music, playing hockey, traveling, or hanging with my family, which includes our dog Winston and cats Webster and Woody.