Y-Not Radio Turns 14! Celebrate June 6th at Kung Fu Necktie w/ Lauran Hibberd!

Next month, our phavorite locally based internet radio station, Y-Not Radio, officially turns 14.  And this Thursday, June 6th, Kung Fu Necktie will be hosting the Y-Not Radio 14th...

Next month, our phavorite locally based internet radio station, Y-Not Radio, officially turns 14.  And this Thursday, June 6th, Kung Fu Necktie will be hosting the Y-Not Radio 14th Anniversary celebration with English slacker pop phenom Lauran Hibberd (opening the evening is local bassist and songwriter Harlee Torres).  The date is in support of Hibberd’s recently-released sophomore LP, girlfriend material, and part of her first-ever headlining tour of the US (Last September she played The Fillmore as support for All Time Low, Gym Class Heroes, and Grayscale.)  During a recent Zoom chat, Y-Not founders Josh T. Landow and Joey O. tell me that they’ve been longtime fans of the Virgin Music artist.  “We’ve been big fans of her for longer than almost anyone in the states has known about her.  I’m gonna give credit to our host Matt McGrath, who hosts a show called Britspotting, because he’s always searching for the latest up and coming music out of the UK.  He found Lauran in 2018 or 2019, when she first started releasing singles,” says Landow.

Although Y-Not is officially about to hit the just-under-a-decade-and-a-half mark, Josh and Joey explain that the roots of the station go back to the late ‘90s, when a new music show known as Y-Not aired on alternative FM station Y100 every Sunday from 1997 until the station shut down.  “Josh worked there full-time in the promotions department and on-air and a whole bunch of different stuff.  I worked there part-time as a part-time DJ and some other behind-the-scenes things,” Joey tells me, going on to explain, “Y100 went off the air in February of 2005, and our old boss, Jim McGuinn, started an internet station, Y100 Rocks, to kind of keep our name out there, hoping some other radio company would start another alternative station and hire him and hire all of us.  That didn’t happen [laughs].”

In the summer of 2006, they partnered with WXPN, where they operated as Y-Rock on WXPN for a few years before they were forced to part ways: “Josh and I were there with Jim.  And, after four years, there were budgetary issues, cutbacks at XPN — which they had rarely ever done — and they had layoffs and they decided to stop what we were doing and end Y-Rock.”  This would, in turn, lead to the official birth of Y-Not Radio.  “More or less, we decided to do exactly what Jim did years earlier and just start another DIY internet radio station.  And that was 14 years ago this July, which is mind-blowing,” Joey tells me, before explaining, “The expectation was to just try and keep doing what we love for as long as we could.  And we’ve never had any goals greater than that.  And as long as people are listening, and as long as listeners are supporting us financially, then we’ll keep doing this!”

Y-Not regularly hosts a lot of the most noteworthy bands in the realm of “alternative” and “indie rock,” including a lot of PHILTHY phriends and phavorites (Eric Slick, The Beths, and Miya Folick have all done Y-Not Radio Takeovers, while our buddies in Puppy Angst did their own Y-Not Session last July… which are all available streaming in the archives.), so I’m curious to hear about some of their best experiences with their favorite acts over the years.  As huge fans of alt-rock of the ‘80s and ‘90s, they tell me that getting to interview Garbage’s Shirley Manson still stands out as a major highlight for both of them, before Joey mentions a particularly memorable encounter he and (longtime DJ, who started as a Y100 intern) Rob Huff  had with supergroup Filthy Friends – fronted by Corin Tucker of Sleater-Kinney and Peter Buck, formerly of R.E.M. (Joey’s favorite band) – when they played Johnny Brenda’s in May of 2019.

“The two of us got an interview, so we got to go backstage at Johnny Brenda’s with Corin and Peter.  And they were the nicest, most chill people!  We have a bunch of selfies.  Corin’s like, ‘Let’s take selfies!’  So, she took my phone, and all the pictures are taken by Corin.  They were just the nicest people.  Afterwards Rob and I were freaking out, but in the moment, it’s like, ‘This is so laid back.’”

When I ask if there’s anyone that they’ve been dying to have on Y-Not, Josh and Joey both exclaim in unison, “Lauran Hibberd!”  Apparently they’ve been trying to get her on the station for a few years, without any luck (largely due to her not having a US publicist), but Josh tells me that he’s hoping he can make a connection this Thursday: “I’m just gonna try to pull her aside at Kung Fu Necktie and hopefully we can make something happen!”

However, they tell me that there was also a fan of Y-Not who left a particularly significant impression on the two of them.  Cindy Stowell was a longtime listener, who had been following them since the Y100 days (They’ve maintained many listeners throughout all iterations of the station.) and had maintained contact throughout her life’s travels, calling in to make a request or a donation every now and then.  “One day I received an email that I was baffled by, from a lawyer from Cindy Stowell’s estate, that this person had passed away,” Josh tells me, going on to admit, “I would have treated it as a total scam, except I had recognized her name, so before I responded I looked up her name and saw that, unfortunately, it was true that she had passed.”

Shortly before she passed, Cindy Stowell fulfilled a lifelong dream as a several-night Jeopardy champion, with the show putting together a video package of her time on the program (which wouldn’t air until after her passing).  “She had been a longtime listener and she had donated a lot (if not all) of her Jeopardy winnings to cancer research, but she left a final gift to the station…  That’s really heavy to have someone care enough that they would think of you (not me as a person, but this station) at that time,” says Josh.

And although they have a good handful of standout memories, it’s their everyday programming that they seem most passionate about.  Josh explains, “If you tune in during a random weekday, we have a really good and unique mix of a lot of new music and classic stuff that’s old favorites, but not just ‘everyone’s’ favorites, but our favorites.  So, there are some deeper cuts that are in the mix, and I think people enjoy that and enjoy having it curated by humans, which I think is increasingly something that you don’t get on the radio.”

Josh mentions some of the station’s specialty shows, which include Britspotting on Monday nights, Australian music show Aussie Unlocked, Canadian music show Sounds Canadian, and Transmission, Rob Huff’s electro-dance show.  But he also take a minute to discuss Future Fridays, his favorite of his own shows, which airs every Friday afternoon: “I spend a ton of time gathering up three hours’ worth of new, new, new music that’s out for the week.  It’s way more than we can add into the mix on a daily basis, so it’s very different from listening to normal Y-Not Radio, but that’s usually where I find the stuff that we want to play regularly.”

Despite running a music station, Joey mentions that they certainly have other interests, as well: “We’re huge pop culture dorks!  Josh and I, on a daily basis, will reference old Conan O’ Brien sketches [laughs].”  And Joey, Josh, and their longtime friend and co-worker, Liz (who worked at Y100 as an intern before going full-time) devised a way to work this love of theirs into additional station content: “Josh and Liz and I do a show called Words With Nerds, where we just talk about TV shows and movies we’ve been watching recently… and stuff that doesn’t fit Y-Not, but it’s our station, so it’s just way to fit this other thing that we love into Y-Not Radio.  We do that roughly once a quarter, and that’s all archived, too!  So, if you wanna hear our thoughts on WandaVision from four years ago, you can go back and find it [laughs].”

As our chat begins to wind down, we find ourselves discussing perhaps Y-Not’s quirkiest show, Rodney Anonymous Tells You How To Live, which airs the first Friday of every month from 9-11pm and features the lead vocalist of local punk legends The Dead Milkmen playing (mostly) his favorite goth/industrial music (An affection of his I was unaware of prior to the program.)  The show began more than ten years ago, after a Y-Not Session with The Dead Milkmen that had Joey and another DJ interviewing Rodney, which Josh found to be exceptionally amusing: “He was just dropping these total fabrications, these stories that were completely out of leftfield and had no truth to them.  And I was thinking, ‘This guy needs to have a radio show!  I don’t care what he does, he’s just so entertaining to listen to!’”

*Get your tickets here.

Band InterviewsLive EventsMusic

During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.