Meet Ian Zolitor, the new host of WXPN’s Sunday night Folk Show

Ian Zolitor | Photo by John Vettese
Ian Zolitor | Photo by John Vettese

The search for Gene Shay’s successor is over. After three months with a variety of interim hosts, Ian Zolitor was named the new permanent host of the WXPN Folk Show today. He will host the weekly show on Sunday nights from 8 to 10 p.m.

Zolitor, 30, has been Shay’s production assistant for the past two years, but his ties to the folk world go back much further.

“I grew up going to the Philadelphia Folk Festival,” Zolitor tells me over coffee at Earth Bread and Brewery, not far from his East Mt. Airy home. “I listened to Gene’s show on my radio. And my dad had boxes of tapes of Gene’s show from before I was born, so I also listened to those, developing my musical taste from that.”

He came on as Shay’s production assistant in April of 2013; as Zolitor puts it, he simply approached him out of a desire to learn more about folk music and folk radio. He hung out, observed and helped out where he could, and as he spent more time at the Folk Show, he became more hands-on, operating the broadcast sound board and coordinating live guests.

Reached at his Lower Merion home, Shay says he is “thrilled and delighted” that Zolitor would be following in his footsteps. “He has the interest, he has the knowledge, the background and the disposition to continue what I tried to do with the music I love,” Shay says. He describes Zolitor as humble, friendly, eager to turn to Shay for advice and well-versed in folk.

Zolitor credits growing up in a very musical household with his interest in folk. Continue reading →