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Josh Landow: Radio Survivor (and Champion).

August 31, 2011

Josh Landow started his career as an intern with Y100, the defunct radio station based in Philadelphia.  After becoming a fill-in DJ, he quickly rose through the ranks to become a full-time DJ. Then the station shut down in 2005. He took his Y-Rock show to WXPN, a deal that lasted until July 2010.  Our Jake Friedman spoke with Landow, who now runs the online radio station Y-Not Radio out of his home in West Philadelphia.

When did you first find yourself interested in music, more than just listening to good bands and going to shows?

I think really that’s still my level of interest in music. I mean I don’t make music. I just love to listen to good bands and go to shows. I also like to help turn people on to good music that they might not know about. Perhaps the question is when did I find myself more interested in radio than just listening to it.  The answer to that would be when WDRE announced they were going off the air in 1997. That station was pretty much where I found out about all the music that I liked. Where would I find it now? Keep in mind that this was before music was all over the Internet. That’s when I got interested in being part of a radio station rather than just listening to it.

How did you get involved in radio?

When WDRE was going off the air, they had a 2-week countdown to the end of the station. I stopped by the studio one day and met a bunch of the staff. That was when I first stepped foot inside a radio studio and I was mesmerized by the inner workings. Fortunately some of those people I met went over to Y100 and I was able to get an internship with them that summer.

Why do you want to do Y-Not Radio?

When Y100 went off the air, I probably would have thought that it was the end of an era. But Internet radio was starting to come on the scene at that time and my boss, Jim McGuinn, was visionary enough to launch immediately after.  I thought it was a great opportunity to keep the station alive in some way so I was right there with him. And then we continued it as Y-Rock on XPN for a few years. When the management there decided to end that, I still felt that carrying on the legacy of Y100 and exposing people to music that they wouldn’t hear anywhere on the Philadelphia radio dial was an important thing to do – whether we had funding or not.

Looking back at your career with Y100, WXPN and Y-NOT, do you have any regrets?

Sure. Looking back at any career or any life, you can say I should have done this or that differently and things would have worked out better. But really, all you can do is learn from what you’ve done and use “mistakes” as lessons for the future. That said, my biggest regret was being naïve enough to enter into a partnership with WXPN without having any kind of written agreement. That’s always bad policy whether you think someone is trustworthy or not because when times get tough, it always comes down to the bottom line.

What is your opinion on the direction of the local music scene compared to what it was when you first began your music career?

I think that in the last few years, the Philadelphia music scene has really come into it’s own. When I started in radio, there were a handful of good local bands but almost none of them were getting attention outside of Philly. Now there are so many more really great bands and a lot of them are getting signed to labels and developing a fan base outside of town.

What are your goals for Y-Not?

I just want Y-Not to keep going and keep growing. I think that Internet radio will keep getting bigger as the Internet itself becomes omnipresent. When anyone can listen to Internet radio on their mobile phone or on their car stereo, then why bother listening to the crap that’s offered up on terrestrial FM stations. When that happens, Y-Not will offer a brand that has been a trusted source of good music in Philly for many years.

  1. Yale Toastmaster permalink
    August 31, 2011 12:39 pm

    Good article! FYI, Josh lives in the West Philly section, not East Falls.

  2. Geo permalink*
    August 31, 2011 1:46 pm

    Apologies for the error. It’s been amended in the online version.

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