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Folk Alley Host Gene Shay

He's been called the "Dean of American folk DJs" and the "Godfather of Philadelphia Folk Music." Now Gene Shay can add another title to his resume - Folk Alley host. Gene, one of the most respected folk radio personalities in the U.S., brings more than four decades worth of experience and knowledge to a weekly two-hour show in the Folk Alley stream each Saturday from 5 to 7 p.m. ET (GMT -5) with an encore broadcast on Wednesdays (also from 5 to 7 p.m.).

Currently on-air at WXPN in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Gene comes to Folk Alley in a new partnership with XPoNential Music, XPN's new on-demand music service. Find out more about XPoNential Music at

See Gene Through The Years
Gene's theme song by Pete & Maura Kennedy. Illustrations by Mark Wilson (1962-1985) & Todd Palmer (1985 - 2002).
For more than 45 years, Gene Shay has been the Philadelphia folk scene's most visible representative, producing folk radio shows every Sunday since 1962 (currently on 88.5, WXPN). A founder of the Philadelphia Folk Festival and the event's emcee since its inception, he has been called the "Godfather of Philadelphia Folk Music" by the Philadelphia Inquirer and "the dean of American folk DJs" by The Philadelphia Daily News.

His early interviews with Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, John Denver, Tom Waits, Phil Ochs, Bonnie Raitt and Judy Collins are almost legendary-some of these have even been bootlegged.

Gene brought Bob Dylan to Philadelphia for his debut concert in the area and, as an advertising writer-producer, Gene wrote the original radio spots for Woodstock. He helped design the famous "smiling banjo" logo for the Philadelphia Folk Festival and years later came up with the name "World Cafe" for the nationally syndicated series produced by WXPN.

For a few years, he edited and published "Singer-Songwriter," a newsletter that had subscribers in the US, Canada and as far away as Japan.

He received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Delaware Valley Music Poll in 1994.

The Moses Rascoe Blues album he produced for Flying Fish was nominated for a Grammy. For his own label, Sliced Bread, he produced The Philadelphia Folk Festival 40th Anniversary anthology - a 4-CD boxed set - and "What's That I Hear" a critcally acclaimed tribute album of Phil Ochs songs.

Gene served as a Charter Board Member of the North American Folk & Dance Alliance; serves on the Board of The Philadelphia Folksong Society, The First Person Arts Foundation, The American Composers Forum and is a voting member on the Board of Governors of NARAS (National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences) in Philadelphia.

In 2005 he received Temple University's coveted Lew Klein Award for Excellence in Communications and was entered into the University's Radio & TV Hall Of Fame.

Welcome Gene and leave a comment below, or reach him via e-mail at


I can hardly choose what words to say. One of my DJ Legends from my first FM radio days of listening to WMMR, and the host of the Philly Folk Fests I went to from 1974 thru 1983. Probably the one person I don't know personally who has had an incredible influence on my knowledge and appreciation of good music. Congrats to Gene and Folk Alley on a solid move.

Posted by: Tom Witanek (Cypress, TX) on March 5, 2007 10:47AM


What a delight to find I'll be hearing your voice on Folk Alley! I also grew up listening to your program on WMMR. I am now feeling just a bit more connected to my Philadelphia folk roots.

Best wishes!

Posted by: Kris Medic (Columbus, IN) on March 4, 2007 9:47PM

I grew up on the Gene Shay Show on Sunday nights beginning (I think) when the show was on WMMR (a rock station) in Philly. It was only a matter of time when the world would insist that we share Gene

Posted by: Scott Thompson (Philadelphia Area PA) on March 3, 2007 6:11PM

I'm not familiar with Folk Alley but have listened to Gene for decades on various Philadelphia radio stations. Not mentioned in his bio is the man's humility. He's never bigger than the music or musicians. Congratulations to Folk Alley and to Gene. I look forward to listening.

Posted by: Mike Connors (Newtown, PA) on February 26, 2007 9:24AM

My husband and I have been fans of yours for 30 years and are excited that the rest of the country will be able to enjoy your discerning taste in folk music and encyclopedic knowledge. What a great pairing! Does this mean that we may be hearing portions of the Philadelphia Folk Festival on Folk Alley?

Posted by: Janet Ames (Oxford, PA) on February 21, 2007 7:32PM

Gene, great to find out you'll be on Folk Alley, I grew up in NE Philly in the 60s and never missed your shows on Sunday Nights, they were and still are (@ streaming WXPN) important to my well being. This news is an added bonus. I look forward to listening to you and your knowledge of folk music. Keep up that outstanding gift to all of us.

Posted by: Gary Freitag (Ketchikan Alaska) on February 20, 2007 7:54PM

Go raibh mile maith agat as ucht cheiol, a chara maith. "A thousand thanks for the good music, good friend." Continue your good work now on FOLK ALLEY as well. We love you, Gene!

Posted by: Mark and Lynn Rains (Hershey, PA) on February 20, 2007 2:49PM

I listened to you every Sunday night 9 to 1 am on public radio in Philadelphia and am thrilled to be able to listen again.

Posted by: Kathleen Daly (Pleasant Mount, PA) on February 20, 2007 6:49AM

I grew up listening to you, left Philly, moved back and was thrilled to hear you again, moved to Albuquerque and now I can STILL listen to you. Look forward to it.

And, hey, any chance you would write your memoirs?

Posted by: Susan Sponar (ABQ, NM) on February 17, 2007 11:39AM

Welcome Gene! I'm looking forward to hearing your voice over the FA stream!
I may pick your brain, if I may, about a Phil Ochs song I heard a young boy sing in the camps of the Kerrville Folk Festival last year. It was great to see the really young carrying on the tradition.
Maybe there will be a voice "Hello" in the Staff Bios soon too when you've settled in. What a great thing it is to have you here - Wow!

Posted by: JoLynn Braswell (San Antonio, TX) on February 16, 2007 9:16PM

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