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WXPN Lets the Listeners Program Desert Island Picks for Fundraiser

WXPN's Desert Island Countdown


I’m always interested to see how various radio stations handle the daunting task of fundraising, especially since I’m now in the thick of things begging for cash at my own station KFJC (hint, hint…if you’re a fan of the station we need your dough!).

Well, public radio station WXPN at University of Pennsylvania has a novel approach. They are a few days into their annual 885 Countdown/fundraiser. This year they asked listeners to vote for their favorite desert island songs and those choices are being played for the next 10 days or so.

More than 5000 people voted on their top 10 desert island picks and you can actually peruse some of those submitted lists on the WXPN website in the “random list” section.

It’s pretty interesting to see how radio programming changes when the audience is given control and when it’s just done by the number count. If you take a look at the countdown so far on the website, you’ll see some pretty random artists back-to-back. It’s oddly refreshing in its randomness; although none of the selections are all that obscure.

I’ve highlighted some of the most interesting pairings in bold and look forward to hearing who made the top 10. I also wonder if those top artists will be representative of what’s typically played on WXPN. I’m guessing yes.

Being a fan of the underdog and the underground, I’m always drawn to what’s on the bottom of lists like these and was happy to find one of my desert island picks on here at #696.

Here’s a sampling of the countdown so far, starting at prophetic number 666:

666 Joan Armatrading – Willow
667 Grateful Dead, The – Fire On The Mountain
668 Glen Miller – In The Mood
669 Bruce Springsteen – Human Touch

670 Beatles, The – Twist & Shout
694 Arcade Fire, The Neighborhood #1 (tunnels)
695 Norah Jones Turn Me On
696 Neutral Milk Hotel In The Aeroplane Over The Sea
697 Jane Siberry & Kd Lang Calling All Angels
698 Helen Reddy I Am Woman
699 Gladys Knight & The Pips Midnight Train To Georgia
700 Dan Wilson Breathless
713 Tom Petty Learning To Fly
714 Tchaikovsky 1812 Overture (finale)
715 Rolling Stones, The Under My Thumb

716 Richard Thompson Wall Of Death
717 Patti Smith Birdland

727 Justin Timberlake Sexy Back
728 Jane’s Addiction Jane Says
729 Carole King Beautiful

730 Amos Lee Listen
731 Van Morrison You’re My Woman

788 Beatles, The Ticket To Ride
789 Snow Patrol Shut Your Eyes
790 Simon & Garfunkel Homeward Bound
791 Replacements, The Can’t Hardly Wait
792 Prince When Doves Cry

793 Peter Gabriel Mercy Street
794 Michael Jackson Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough
795 Louis Armstrong  Mack The Knife
796 Issac Hayes Theme From Shaft
797 Green Day Holiday

798 David Ford Decimate
799 Dar Williams Are You Out There
800 Black Eyed Peas I Gotta Feeling
801 Bela Fleck & The Flecktones Big Country

814 Killers, The Mr. Brightside
815 Etta James My Funny Valentine
816 Elton John Madman Across The Water
817 Ella Fitgerald & Louis Armstrong They Can’t Take That Away From Me
818 Donovan Colours
819 Delta Spirit, The Trashcan

826 U2 Running To Stand Still
827 Traffic Dear Mr. Fantasy
828 Tom Waits Alice
829 Temptations, The Papa Was A Rolling Stone
830 Radiohead Black Star
831 James Brown I Feel Good
832 Led Zeppelin Dazed & Confused

833 Bob Dylan If Not For You

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