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News & Press: Conference

Press Release: Gene Shay Folk DJ Scholarship

Thursday, June 29, 2017  
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 26, 2017 Erika Noguera
Folk Alliance International
816.221.3655 x7


Folk Alliance International and the Folk DJ Community Announce Applications Now Open for the inaugural Gene Shay Folk DJ Scholarship to FAI


Kansas City, MO: The community of Folk DJs around the world and Folk Alliance International (FAI) are pleased to announce that applications for the inaugural Gene Shay Folk DJ Scholarship are now open through September 30, 2017, at

The Gene Shay Folk DJ Scholarship includes conference registration to the upcoming Folk Alliance International Conference in Kansas City, Missouri Feb 14-18, 2018, hotel for four nights at the Westin Hotel Crown Center, travel compensation up to $500, and more.

The scholarship is determined by a committee comprised of radio veterans and music industry executives and will be awarded on an annual basis. The current committee is Tom Coxworth (CKUA - Edmonton, Canada), Biff Kennedy (Charterhouse Music Group - Philadelphia, PA), John Platt (WFUV - New York, NY), Ellen Stanley (KFAI - Minneapolis-St.Paul, MN), and Mary Sue Twohy (SiriusXM - USA & Canada) working in tandem with FAI staff.

The scholarship requires that on-air broadcasters program Folk and World formats, broadcast on terrestrial, satellite or internet formats for a minimum of one year and no more than 5 years. Aircheck and application are due September 30, 2017, and notification will happen on or by November 10, 2017. All applicants are encouraged to pencil February 14-18, 2018, on their calendars.

For more detail and to submit an application and aircheck please visit

About Gene Shay
Gene Shay is frequently referred to as the "Dean of Folk DJs." His career has spanned more than five decades on six different radio stations in the Philadelphia market, most recently at WXPN, where he did his final Sunday night Folk Show on February 1, 2015. Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, Phil Ochs, and Tom Waits are just a few of the artists he interviewed early in their careers, a tradition that he's continued with today's best artists.

Beyond his radio work, Gene brought Bob Dylan to Philadelphia in 1963 for his debut concert, is a co-founder of the Philadelphia Folk Festival, and co-owner of Sliced Bread Records. He was present at the creation of Folk Alliance, and he was given FAI’s first Folk DJ lifetime achievement award. Above all, he has been a friend and mentor to countless artists and DJs.

From the outpouring of camaraderie around the on-air tribute to Gene Shay on his last broadcast show on WXPN on February 1, 2015, Rich Warren and John Platt suggested the spirit be kept alive. In 2016, they met at NERFA (North East Regional Folk Alliance) with Biff Kennedy to find a way to encourage and support the next generation of broadcasters in the style and name of Gene Shay. After creating a scholarship plan, the three went to colleagues for a financial contribution in Gene Shay's name and raised a generous endowment to build the scholarship. Kennedy, Platt, and Warren then partnered with FAI to help manage, market, and determine a new broadcaster each year to attend the international conference carrying the legacy of Gene Shay's 50+ years of radio and folk music industry leadership forward. In his honor, the Gene Shay Scholarship has been established to annually send a Folk DJ for the first time to the FAI conference.

The Folk DJ Community and FAI remain thankful for all who have donated to support the annual Gene Shay Folk DJ Scholarship: Sonny Ochs, WXPN (Philadelphia, PA) , Philadelphia Folksong Society, NERFA, WRKF (Baton Rouge, LA), Laurel Zydney, Sing Out!, Erik Balkey (Hudson Harding Music), MarySue Twohy, (SiriusXM),Taylor Caffery, (“Hootenanny Power” on WRKF), Bud Johnson (Acoustic Accents on KNBA, KBRW,KYUK, KUAC, KXGA, KXKM, KTNA, KCHU in Alaska), James Curley (Earnest & Troubled, Artists), Michelle Conceison, (Market Monkeys in Nashville, TN), Richard Kardon (Philadelphia, PA), Philadelphia Folksong Society, Wayne Greene ( of Euless, TX), John Platt (WFUV Radio in New York, NY) and Rich Warren (WFMT Radio - 98.7 FM in Chicago, IL), Biff Kennedy (Charterhouse Music Group in Philadelphia, PA).


About Folk Alliance International
Established in 1989, Folk Alliance International (FAI) is a 501(c)3 non-profit with more than 3,000 members worldwide and a mission “to nurture, engage and empower the international folk music community - traditional and contemporary, amateur and professional – through education, advocacy, and performance.”

FAI’s year-round services and promotion include producing the world’s largest gathering for the folk music industry and community of artists, record companies, publishers, presenters, agents, managers, music support services, and manufacturers. The annual event includes a 3-day conference with daytime panels and evening showcases, the Louis Jay Meyers Music Camp, the International Folk Music Awards Show, and the Kansas City Folk Festival.

The FAI conference is one of the five largest music conferences in North America and draws 2700 registrants from 27 countries. The 30th edition will be held February 14-18, 2018, at the Westin Hotel Crown Center in Kansas City, Missouri. For more information visit 

Folk Alliance International, 601 Avenida Cesar E Chavez Suite #100, Kansas City MO 64108 • 816-221-FOLK (3655) •

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