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Philadelphia radio station WYSP received a special send-off on Friday as it said goodbye to its 40-year run of rock music: a half-hour-long phone call from Howard Stern. The 94.1 frequency switched to a sports format at 3:00 p.m. Its last song was Metallica’s “Fade to Black.”
Stern, who is on currently on vacation, rang YSP midday host Spike to offer well-wishes to those leaving the station, which was first to syndicate the Howard Stern Show in 1986. He eventually hit No. 1 in the market, ranked eighth in the nation.
“Philadelphia was so good to me,” said Stern, who described himself as “an angry young man” during those formative media empire-building years. “I really wanted to be successful in Philly. … I love WYSP. It’s very strange to hear it’s not gonna be there any more.”
WYSP is the latest in a string of stations that will no longer be playing music. Earlier this summer, Chicago station WKQX along with New York’s WRXP adopted news and talk formats after being sold to Merlin Media, headed by former Tribune Company CEO Randy Michaels.
Philly jock Spike offered his theory for the demise of rock stations on the air: “The internet has opened up avenues for people to know about so many different new rock bands that it’s hard to get people all liking the same thing at the same time.”
Ever the class act, the self-proclaimed King of All Media noted, “When you think about the death of a radio station, we’re of course talking about people.”
Hear the conversation in its entirety below.
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