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Yesterday's now music today

When did WXPN become an oldies station?

During my 15-minute morning commute today, WXPN played cuts by Fats Domino (1955), Joe Jackson (1979), and The Cars (1978).

Great artists, great tunes all.

But I wonder what the late, great DJ/promoter Lee Paris - who helped put 'XPN on the map back when it was a Philly college radio outpost, not a national lifestyle brand - would think of the station's latest iteration.

Paris was an energetic, frequently frenetic and occasionally tasteless tastemaker whose idiosyncratic on-air personality thrived at 'XPN in the late '70s and early '80s, long after those storied free-form FM days were over (just ask Michael Tearson) but before the station evolved into a (theoretically) non-commercial powerhouse.

Not that there's anything wrong with capitalism: Paris, who died in 1986, also migrated to the commercial side of the spectrum. Times do change. And these days terrestrial radio stations, like broadcast TV and, come to think of it, newspapers, struggle as alternatives metastasize.

So perhaps it makes sense for XPN to fill its airwaves -- once a refreshing oasis in the algorhythmic desert - with focus-group-tested warhorses, interspersed with the occasional house fave-du-jour. Like, say, Dawes.

And perhaps, from his mosh pit up there in irony heaven, Lee Paris is smiling. Or smirking.

His legendary late-Sunday-night show on 'XPN, you may remember, was called "Yesterday's now music today."