V-JAM Philly Session Leader: WXPN

Philadelphia has a unique, rich musical history, and WXPN has made it its mission to build a community focused on discovering that music and connecting artists with new audiences.

The nationally recognized leader in Triple A radio and the premier guide for discovering rock, blues, roots and folk, WXPN is the non-commercial, member-supported, public radio service of the University of Pennsylvania. The radio station produces World Cafe, XPoNential Music Festival, and The Key, a blog that covers local music, including jazz artists and jazz events.

In this time of social distancing, public music services are more vital than ever. “It’s clear that our listeners are valuing the healing balm of music and the sense of community on-air that they can’t get in person right now,” says General Manager Roger LaMay. “We are getting a great response to our ‘Checking In with’ series that checks in with local and national artists at home. It’s on-air 5 p.m. Monday-Thursday and online anytime at thekey.xpn.org.

Beyond building a sense of community on-air, the station also created the Music Community Relief Fund aimed at supporting local and regional artists, venues, and related workers. WXPN launched the fund through a new partnership with the Philly Music Fest, which is raising funds and distributing micro-grants for local artists and employees of local independent music venues whose work and income have been halted by the COVID-19 pandemic. WXPN is committing $25,000 for the continuation of the micro-grant program, and the donation will allow another 100 recipients to receive funds to help them pay for food, rent, utilities, or any other expenses that they may be challenged to pay at this time due to lack of employment. 

“We encourage local jazz artists to take advantage of the micro-grants WXPN is providing through Philly Music Fest,” LaMay said, noting that the new fund is part of the WXPN Music Community Relief Initiative, which includes efforts such as creating a virtual concert calendar; providing five local artists with free, one-year memberships to the state-of-the-art creative facility REC Philly; and curating Spotify “Quarantunes” playlists by WXPN DJs designed to get the community through this difficult time together.