Move Across the Radio Dial with writer Billy Altman’s keynote address, Spinning New York:
a panel on NYC Radio DJs recalling Cousin Brucie, Hal Jackson, Pete Fornatale:
Richard Schotter’s one act The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll about Alan Freed.

Honor six beloved NYC DJs at the People’s Hall of Fame

Kiss FM’s DJ Red Alert, who put hip hop on the radio
— presented by hip hop pioneer Kool DJ Herc;

WFUV’s Kathleen Biggins, whose reels and jigs anchor the city’s rich Irish music scene
— presented by musician and activist Mick Moloney;

WNYC’s Oscar Brand, the folk DJ with a record-setting six decades on the air
— presented by composer and musician David Amram;

WBAI’s Bob Fass, who, in an age of rigidly formatted shows, invented free form radio
— presented by WFUV’s Vin Scelsa;

WBGO’s Awilda Rivera, who brings Latin rhythms into New York homes
— presented by bandleader Bobby Sanabria;

WKCR’s Phil Schaap, a walking encyclopedia of jazz and an activist for the art form
— presented by jazz legend Fred Smith.

Dance to DJ Turmix

with playlist suggested by the honorees

 Sunday, December 2nd, 3:00-7:30 pm

at the
Museum of the City of New York
1220 Fifth Avenue at 103rd St. New York, NY 10029

$15. Students, Seniors, City Lore and Museum Members: $10.
For more information call 212-529-1955, x 0.
To purchase tickets from the Museum online at or call 917-492-3395.

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New York —As the Ramones once sang, Do you remember lying in bed with the covers pulled up over your head?

City Lore and the City Museum do. On December 2nd, City Lore, the nationally acclaimed not-for-profit organization devoted to preserving New York’s urban culture, will usher in a handful of New York City’s most beloved and enduring radio DJs, representing some of most familiar letters on the radio dial, into the People’s Hall of Fame.  Join them in a roof-raising celebration at the Museum of the City of New York on Sunday, December 2, from 3 pm to 7:30 pm.

Held in collaboration with the Museum of the City of New York on Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street, this, the 12th People’s Hall of Fame awards ceremony and dance party, is a much deserved public acknowledgment of the important role played by these six New Yorkers; even in the current climate of international conglomerates, satellite radio, and podcasts, these local DJs anchor communities and offer lifelines for their fellow New Yorkers seeking musical worlds that transcend the work-a-day.

“While we tend to think of radio as a national media, from its inception, broadcast radio has maintained a strong local component, one anchored by local personalities who often promoted regional musicians and community events,” notes Ray Allen, from the Hitchcock Institute for American Music at Brookyn College and host for the afternoon program. “Even here in New York, the capital of commercial music, radio has played a strong role in nourishing local music cultures.”  

“What is being lost with satellite and web-based radio,” said City Lore director Steve Zeitlin, “is the local DJ who can anchor local musical communities.”

City Lore has honored scores of New Yorkers since the first People’s Hall of Fame in 1993. This year’s crop joins the members of The Bronx Old Timers Stickball League; Dick Zigun, founder of the Mermaid Parade and Coney Island USA; Cleve Jones and Bob Wilson, organizers of the AIDS Quilt; Gerald Menditto who walked the tracks of the Cyclone roller coaster to keep it safe for New Yorkers; and Tariq Hamid from Shaheen Foods and Sweets in an illustrious roster of New Yorkers who make our city distinct.


3:00 – 3:30 pm.  Rock ‘n’ roll journalist Billy Altman delivers a keynote address, Spinning New York,  on the impact of radio personalities on New York City’s musical cultures;

3:30 – 4:15 pm.  Henry Sapoznik, Carol Cooper, Sid Gribetz, Amy Krakow, and René López in a panel discussion ranging from the payola scandal to hip hop moderated by Ray Allen

4:30 – 6:00 pm.  People’s Hall of Fame Awards Ceremony hosted by Ray Allen, Institute for American Music at Brooklyn College

– Shout Out to three key DJs who passed away this past year:  Pete Fornatale, Danny Stiles, and Hal Jackson

– Performance of The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, a ten minute play about legendary DJ Alan Fried, by Richard Schotter, Queens College

– Awards Presentation

6:00 – 8:00 pm.  Dance Party with DJ Turmix with songs suggested by the honorees.  Light refreshments.

Visitors will be able to peruse exhibits at the Museum of the City of New York including Activist New York.


$15. Students, Seniors, City Lore and Museum Members: $10.  For more information call 212-529-1955, x 0.  To purchase tickets from the Museum online go to or call 917-492-3395. 

Funded by the New York Council for the Humanities, the Scherman Foundation,and the New York State Council on the Arts. Special thanks to Anne Edgar Associates for publicity.



BILLY ALTMAN is an award-winning, Grammy-nominated music critic and historian whose work has appeared in such places as the New York Times, Rolling Stone and Esquire. A former curator for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and a recipient of the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award for music journalism, he teaches in the Humanities Department of New York’s School of Visual Arts.

His keynote address, Spinning New York, will explore the invaluable role played by local radio stations over the years in presenting, promoting and popularizing music from all points of the city’s diverse cultural compass. It will examine the ways in which listeners’ tastes, and their lives, have been influenced by the many memorable, and often outsized, personalities who’ve been part of New York’s rich radio history.


RAY ALLEN is a professor of music at Brooklyn College.  He directs the American Studies Program and serves as a senior associate at the Hitchcock Institute for Studies in American Music at Brooklyn College. He teaches courses on American folk, popular, and concert music, and American cultural studies. Allen is the author of Gone to the Country: The New Lost City Ramblers and the Urban Folk Music Revival (University of Illinois Press, 2010), among other books on American folk and popular music. The Hitchock Institute of American Music at Brooklyn College will cosponsor * On the Air.


RICHARD SCHOTTER’s plays—Medicine Show, Benya the King, The Wood Dancer and Taking Stock— have been performed in New York, around the U.S. and in Europe. He has been an Obie Award nominee and received a CAPS grant and the National Foundation for Jewish Culture’s Berman Playwriting Award (for Benya the King).  His play, The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll about DJ Alan Freed will be performed as part of On the Air.  Schotter is a professor in the creative writing program at Queens College, and a visiting professor at Boston University.


CAROL COOPER is a journalist and critic whose work has appeared in such publications as the New York Times, the Village Voice and Essence, as well as the anthology Rock She Wrote: The Rolling Stone Book of Women in Rock. She has also worked as a Regional and National Director of Black Music Artists and Repertoire for A&M and Columbia Records.

SID GRIBETZ has been a mainstay of New York’s jazz radio scene for better than 30 years. With a musical expertise that ranges in a broad spectrum from swing to modern jazz,  he can be heard as a host of WKCR’s popular Sunday afternoon Jazz Profiles program, as well as other special broadcasts.

AMY KRAKOW is an author, curator, producer and filmmaker, and the recipient of numerous awards from the magazine, radio and advertising industries. Her program on American television advertising, Fast Talking Men – and Women,” has been shown regularly in the US and Great Britain. She is currently working on a documentary about pioneering 1950s rock and roll and Latin record executive George Goldner.

HENRY SAPOZNIK is an award winning author, radio and record producer and performer of traditional Yiddish and American music.  Sapoznik co-produced the 10 part series the “Yiddish Radio Project” for National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” in the spring of 2002, which won the Peabody Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism the same year he was nominated for an Emmy for his music score to the biographical documentary “The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg.”  In addition to his work at NPR Sapoznik was a long time host of New York station WEVD and host of a popular drive time show on WBAI.  He currently heads the Mayrent  Institute for Yiddish Culture at the University of Wisconsin, Madison


KOOL DJ HERC is often considered that “father of hip hop” for his work spinning records and hosting the first hip hop events in 1973.  He one of the first People’s Hall of Fame Award in 1994. 

DR. MICK MOLONEY is one of the world’s leading scholars, and performers, of Celtic music. A National Heritage Award recipient, and author of Far From The Shamrock Shore: The Story of Irish American History Through Song, he served as a consultant for the PBS series Out of Ireland. He has taught at the University of Pennsylvania, Georgetown and Villanova, and currently teaches in the Irish Studies program at NYU.

VIN SCELSA has spent more than four decades on New York City radio airwaves. A veteran of both public and commercial stations ranging from WFMU and WBAI to WABC- and WNEW-FM, his popular Idiot’s Delight program – a freeflowing mix of music, monologue, live performance and interviews – is broadcast every week on Fordham’s WFUV.


Founded in 1923 as a private, nonprofit corporation, the Museum of the City of New York celebrates and interprets the city, educating the public about its distinctive character, especially its heritage of diversity, opportunity, and perpetual transformation. The Museum connects the past, present, and future of New York City, and serves the people of the city as well as visitors from around the world through exhibitions, school and public programs, publications, and collections.