David Dye

David Dye is a longtime Philadelphia radio personality whose music enthusiasm has captivated listeners of World Cafe® since 1991. World Cafeis produced by WXPN, the public radio service of the University of Pennsylvania.

Dye launched his distinguished broadcasting career as host of a progressive music show on WMMR 93.3 FM, a pioneering progressive rock station in Philadelphia. During his four-year tenure, Dye won accolades for his taste and laid back presentation. After a five-year stint programming radio stations in Maine, he returned to Philadelphia where he gained public radio experience at WHYY before being recruited in 1981 by alternative rock station WIOQ 102.1 FM where he made his mark on the music scene for nearly a decade.

In 1989, Dye took his musical quest to WXPN where he hosted the station's Sleepy Hollow radio program. Two years later, Dye was asked to spearhead research on the viability of a new public radio program. The research revealed an audience need for a new kind of musical format - one that was intelligent, diverse and would give musical guests a showcase for their artistic expression. Based on the findings, Dye went to work to create a unique program of musical discovery where listeners would be introduced to an eclectic blend of contemporary sounds from legendary and up-and-coming artists. World Cafewas born.

Since launching World Cafein 1991, Dye has served as the host of this nationally acclaimed show, now syndicated on more than 250 public radio stations across the United States. Every week, Dye brings out the best in interviews with internationally known artists such as Yo-Yo Ma and Joni Mitchell. He has conducted nearly 4,500 interviews during his 20 years with the program. He introduces a half-million listeners each week to newcomers like Vampire Weekend, Mumford & Sons, PJ Harvey, Sheryl Crow, Beck, LCD Soundsystem and Amos Lee.

World Cafe and Dye have received numerous awards including: two NFCB Gold Reel Awards, Album Network's "Best Triple A Air Talent," five Philadelphia Magazine's "Best of Philly Awards," the Philadelphia Chapter of NARAS "Hero Award," the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award and numerous radio industry trade magazine citations. In 2006, Dye was named the "Triple A Air Personality of the Year" by Radio & Records.

There are many interests World Cafe doesn't have in common with this Sunday's Grammy Awards -- golden gramophones, red-carpet couture and sappy speeches among them. But there's one interest we do share: We're always on the hunt for the "best new artist."

Shirley Collins' recent World Cafe session is a perfect jumping-off point for exploring the world of British folk and folk-rock in the 1960s. Bands like Fairport Convention and artists like Richard Thompson got their start as "British Byrds" with electrified folk tunes.

Don't think for a moment that we didn't struggle as we compiled our list of the best World Cafe interviews and performances of 2016. We had to choose from over 200 sessions we recorded this year in our studio, onstage at World Cafe Live and on our "Sense of Place" travel adventures.

Before there was Dark Side Of The MoonPink Floyd's magnum opus, which stayed on the charts for years and years and has come to define progressive rock — there were years of albums and experimentation for the band. That included ballets, film scores and even live accompaniment to the moon landing. All this material, which also includes outtakes, BBC recordings and more, has been gathered into a 27-disc box set of music and video called The Early Years 1965-1972.

Australian public radio has an amazing popular music service throughout the country called triple j. Almost every time a new artist from Australia visits us on World Cafe, we read something in their bio about triple j radio — and particularly about its Unearthed site, where unsigned bands can upload their music and songs can bubble up organically.

I had not heard this interview with Leonard Cohen since 1993, the second year of World Cafe's existence, until we revisited it upon hearing of his death this week. I'd traveled to talk with Cohen backstage at a 1,000-seat theater he was playing in the suburbs outside Philadelphia. This was different from the large, triumphant tours he played in his 70s — it was almost workaday, a performance for the gathered faithful. The man who passed away Monday at the age of 82 was spry in his 60s.

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