Wednesday, April 15, 2020

UPDATE: Gene Shay, Former Philly Radio Personality Is Critical

Gene Shay
An earlier posting reported that Gene Shay, a much-loved mainstay on Philadelphia radio and the face of the Philadelphia Folk Festival for more than 50 years, had died, from the effects of COVID-19.

The Phiadlephia Inquirer has since issued a correction.  Shay remains in critical condition as of 11 am Wednesday.

Shay’s impact on the Philadelphia music scene was immense. He began hosting a Sunday night folk music show on WHAT-FM in 1962, the same year he cofounded the Philadelphia Folk Fest. He was the host at the event, always ready with a corny joke, until 2015.

“He’s one of our forefathers,” said Lisa Schwartz, festival and program director for the Folk Festival and its presenting organization, the Philadelphia Folksong Society. “His mellifluous voice and that mischievous grin and a twinkle in his eye are as synonymous with the Folk Festival as the iconic smiley banjo logo that he helped design.”

Shay retired from active broadcasting in January 2015.

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