Dare to be Different: The importance of Philly’s WDRE, 20 years later. Article from WXPN Radio website:
For the relatively short time that it was around, WDRE was a pivotal music source for young listeners the Philadelphia region. It was the first local station entirely dedicated to the alternative rock boom — the first station to prioritize a new generation of emerging artists over leftovers from the classic rock era.
It signed on the air in November 9, 1992, a simulcast with WLIR in Long Island augmented with local hosts like Mel “Toxic” Taylor and Marilyn Russell, and after a whirlwind five years, signed off on February 7, 1997 — 20 years ago today.
Depeche Mode and The Cure — artists who continued putting out stellar work in the 90s but were shunned by rock radio. She also liked that the format was female-friendly, unlike mainstream rock radio, citing Tori Amos, Alanis Morrissette, PJ Harvey, and Hole as some of her favorites.
By 1994, though, something changed — as the saying went, alternative had become mainstream, and alt-minded stations like DRE faced an identity crisis.
What do we do when Pearl Jam started showing up in the mix on Y100, which was a pop station at the time, or in WYSP’s hard rock mix? The answer: go deeper.
Don’t play artists that make the mainstream jump; focus on new and undiscovered. Rebrand as the Underground Network.