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Gene Shay

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Gene Shay

Radio personality

Drawn from Memory

Gene Shay Gene Shay Archives Sing Out

Gene Shay's Secrets of Magic Revealed: 15 Amazing Mind-boggling Magic Tricks You Can Master in Minutes

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Ivan Shaner 4 March 1935 (age 85)  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
17 April 2020 (aged 85) Lower Merion Township, Pennsylvania

Phil Minissale visits Gene Shay's Folk Show on WXPN 88.5 FM (part 1)

Gene Shay (born Ivan Shaner March 4, 1935 – April 17, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) was an American radio personality. He was a representative of Philadelphia's folk music scene. He has produced weekly folk radio shows since 1962 (now on WXPN and his final show on WXPN was February 1, 2015; previously heard on WHAT-FM, WMMR, WIOQ and WHYY-FM). A founder of the annual Philadelphia Folk Festival and its emcee since its inception, he has been called the "The dean of American folk DJs" by The Philadelphia Daily News and "The Grandfather of Philadelphia Folk Music" by The Philadelphia Inquirer. Shay also serves as a host for the online "Folk Alley" stream originating at Kent State University station WKSU and carried on WXPN's website.


Gene Shay Gene Shay at the 2014 Philadelphia Folk Festival Photo by

Radio video from wxpn ep 59 gene shay and the folk fest 50th anniversary


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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 recorded interviews have been bootlegged.

Gene Shay Gene Shay gtnave Twitter

Shay was the first to bring Bob Dylan to Philadelphia in 1963 for his debut concert. As an advertising writer and producer, he wrote the original radio commercials 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 and distributed by National Public Radio.

Gene Shay Sideshow Gene sashays to fame phillyarchives

For a few years he edited and published Singer-Songwriter, a newsletter that had subscribers in the United States, Canada and Japan.

Awards and achievements

He received a lifetime achievement award from the Delaware Valley Music Poll in 1994 and was inducted into Temple University's Radio, TV & Theater Hall of Fame on October 25, 2005.

He was a partner in Sliced Bread Records and has produced a number of folk music collections for that label. The most notable may have been What's That I Hear, The Songs Of Phil Ochs, a tribute album featuring Phil Ochs songs interpreted by more than a score of popular folksingers, and the Philadelphia Folk Festival 40th Anniversary Anthology, a historic 2 CD collection of recorded Festival performances from Pete Seeger, Bonnie Raitt, Fairport Convention, John Prine, Arlo Guthrie and many others. The Moses Rascoe Blues album he produced for Flying Fish Records was considered for a Grammy nomination.

Shay served as a Charter Board Member of the North American Folk Alliance, served on the Board of Sing Out! Magazine, the national folk music quarterly founded by Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger in the late 1940s, and he was a voting member on the Board of Governors of NARAS in Philadelphia.


Shay died at the age of 85, on April 17, 2020 from COVID-19 in Lower Merion Township, Pennsylvania.


Gene Shay Wikipedia