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WXB 102 is Dead, but the Spirit Lives On....


                                                   Brave New World
                                     (A History of WXB 102 FM, Manila)

          In the late 80s, another movement started from the underground that was supported by a younger set of listeners who were mostly in high school and college. The fallout from the punk explosion elsewhere in the world had reached our shores with the help of self-confessed music (gurus), who bought their own records and read imported magazines. In campuses, a new generation of musicians weaned on both punk and the more accessible new wave played for soirees and school fairs. The much-needed support for this musical coming-of-age came courtesy of progressive radio station WXB 102.7.

          A sequestered property from the Marcos era, the station that broadcast from a decrepit old house in Donada, Pasay, was operated by a handful of volunteers who even had to bring their personal record collections to the station. Their flexible playlist was largely influenced by the DJs' tastes and preferences. It was a time when kids still knew what hi-fi was, and that vinyl was something that didn't mean leather pants. This surging of musical interest renewed excitement about an extra-curricular activity which some parents felt was highly objectionable‹ (forming a band). Kids who played in bands and their followers were bound together in a later movement called the Brave New World, propagated by an independent producer who put together albums for the young unknowns.

          Hardly classifiable as a major milestone in mainstream (i.e. radio-supported; commercial, as in, selling by the thousands) music, this semi-underground force pushed up and broke new ground. Whereas rock 'n' roll or rock music in general had become notoriously associated with drugs, new wave and punk, on the other hand, brought in even stranger fashion and obstinate hair. But even then, and despite parents' fears, the atmosphere had been borne entirely out of the sprit of fun. 

          When XB102 was closed down as the new democracy took a stronger foothold in the country, the music had been silenced indefinitely. Towards the late 80s, some seminal new wave bands became lucky enough to break into the mainstream.

          The Dawn, and others that followed their footsteps like Introvoys, Afterimage, and later, True Faith, gained enough commercial success that music critics and even some journalists hailed the era as Pinoy rock renaissance. Not entirely, but it did shift the focus again to a more band-oriented sound. The on-again, off-again relationship of record labels to bands (as opposed to soloists, who some view more as interpreters of songs, because most of them do not really write their own songs) was put to a test.