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.