April 9, 2012

i92 - Rock of the 80's

It wasn't my imagination. There really was, for a few months when I was 14, a commercial radio station that played new wave pop during the day, and punk rock music late at night once-a-week. What was the name of that show? ...Dead Kennedys, Black Flag, Sex Pistols.... I remember sneaking my radio to bed and listening to it next to my pillow. This was around the same time as that seminal Black Flag/Meat Puppets show in Harrisburg. I think I first heard about it from those nighttime DJs and it looks like we might have Rodney on the ROQ to thank for that:
...When WCAU FM debuted their "Hot Hits" format in 1981, they grabbed most of the teen audience from WIFI. In response, WIFI briefly attempted an adult contemporary format in 1982 but it failed almost immediately due to stiff competition and a diluted audience.... In early 1983, the station called in consultant Rick Carroll who had transformed Los Angeles' KROQ into a Southern California ratings success. With much fanfare and press coverage, Carroll attempted to replicate his "Rock of the 80's" New Wave format in Philadelphia by dramatically changing the station's sound and bringing in DJs such as Mel Toxic and Lee Paris. The station was referred to as "i92."... - Philly Radio Archives 

If you're still in the Philly area, the traffic report will sound familiar:

And it looks like this guy from Pensauken was pretty excited about that station too. Settle in for a little DaveTV:

"The Rock" was gone in less than 6-months. It turned into WXTU, country radio, where it remains to this day.


  1. Never missed Freddy Snakeskin and the Rock of the 80s Countdown...always heard a rumor that i92's quick disappearance from the airwaves had less to do with ratings and more to do with cocaine, but rumors were rampant in those days (Mikey was killed by Pop Rocks and Pepsi, you know!)

  2. I think the main reason why i-92 went away was due to the station being sold, combined with lack of significant ratings. Consultant Rick Carroll came from KROQ and took his Rock of the Eighties concept to other cities including San Diego, Seattle, Sacramento, Boston, San Francisco, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh. If you look around on-line, you'll find recordings of some of those stations. Also, seek out vintage early 80's WLIR, WFNX, KJET and the original KROQ.

  3. I'm so glad I'm not the only one who remembers i92! I thought they played great stuff, and I was quite shocked and dismayed when it went away (and was replaced with Country!).
    I still have a cassette laying around somewhere with some i92 on it. The Smithereens' Blood & Roses, The English Beat's Save it for Later - i92 turned me on to that stuff!

    1. I taped almost all Of I92 and still have them.

    2. I also taped almost everything on that station and still have them to this day

  4. I remember i92 and it changed my life. Best radio station ever! My favorite DJ was Lee Paris. Thank you so much for this post!

  5. It was something new and fresh and I was in high school and getting into new music. Great time in my life!