World Cafe

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This article is about the radio show. For the organisational development technique, see The World Cafe.
World Cafe
Hajoca Philly.JPG
The World Cafe at the former Hajoca Corp. showroom
Genre Music/Interview
Running time 2 hours, Monday-Friday
Country United States
Language(s) English
Home station WXPN 88.5 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Syndicates Public Radio International (1991-2005)
NPR (2005-present)
Host(s) David Dye
Air dates since 1991
Podcast World Cafe Podcasts

World Cafe is a two-hour-long, nationally syndicated music radio program that originates from WXPN, a non-commercial station licensed to the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. The program began in 1991 and was originally distributed by Public Radio International. Since 2005, the show has been distributed by NPR. Hosted by David Dye, World Cafe features live performances and interviews with established and emerging artists. The program's format covers a wide spectrum of musical genres, including indie rock, folk, hard rock, singer-songwriter, alt-country, and world music. The program produces two weekly podcasts containing interviews and information about musical performers: "World Cafe Words and Music," which features more established singers and bands, and "World Cafe Next," which highlights emerging artists.

Performance venue[edit]

World Cafe Live[edit]

The brain child of local entrepreneur/amateur musician Hal Real, World Cafe Live was founded in 2004 as a state of the art concert venue. It is located at 3025 Walnut Street in Philadelphia, PA. WCL was built on a simple insight: that a place dedicated to showcasing live music should be a place that attracts and inspires live musicians and audiences. The result is a place in which every detail has been designed to optimize the live performance experience for both the artist and the audience — from sight lines, lighting and acoustics, innovative programming for diverse audiences to great food and beverage service. World Cafe Live is a design space expressly for live music in a 40,000 square-foot Art Deco factory building which also houses WXPN radio station. Downstairs Live features a three-tiered music hall with capacity for seating of 300 in its normal bistro configuration and holds up to 650 as standing room only.

Upstairs Live offers an intimate café on the Walnut Street level, seating approximately 100 and featuring live radio broadcasts and performance seven days a week. [1] It is also home to the WXPN studios. The venue is well known for hosting upcoming local artists as well as nationally touring acts [2]

World Cafe Live is a full-service restaurant, serving drinks and light fare for upstairs performances and serving complete dinners during the shows downstairs.[3]

A second World Cafe Live venue, known as World Cafe Live at the Queen, opened in the former Queen Theatre in Wilmington, Delaware in the early spring of 2011.

Programming at World Cafe Live

Since 2004, WCL-Philadelphia has been programming an average of 570 ticketed shows and 200 free shows a year. With the addition of the two stages at WCL at the Queen (Wilmington, DE), WCL now programs about 900 ticketed shows and 350 free shows each year. WCL’s programming team proactively manages the talent lineup and books all shows in accordance with WCL’s strategy and vision to successfully book established and emerging talent on its stages. National and emerging artists, including many Grammy nominees and winners, have appeared on WCL’s stages, such as Cyndi Lauper, John Legend, Natalie Cole, James Blunt, Aimee Mann, Ray LaMontagne, Ricki Lee Jones, KT Tunstall, The Roots, George Clinton, Corrine Bailey Rae and many others. WCL has served as the launching pad for upcoming artists such as Adele, Amos Lee, Diane Birch, Trombone Shorty, Brandi Carlile, Alabama Shakes, Sara Bareilles and Raphael Saadiq, to name a few.

As its national prominence has grown and as WCL’s unique partnership with WXPN has gained recognition, more and more of music’s biggest stars and emerging talent seek an opportunity to perform on WCL’s stages.

In addition, WCL has created unique and innovative programming for diverse audiences through WCL programming to support the local and regional music community and in partnership with other organizations. A sampling of these programs includes: Peanut Butter & Jams, a weekly interactive children’s series, recognized by Newsweek as the catalyst for a nationwide trend.

WCL has attracted interest from programming partners on a national level, including Mark Cuban’s HDNet, with whom WCL launched a live concert series called “Onstage from World Cafe Live” that aired nationally on HDNet and Public Television.

Friday Free at Noon Concerts is an XPN-WCL concert series from World Cafe Live in Philadelphia or Wilmington every Friday, offering a free weekly concert open to the public that is broadcast live on XPN,, California Public Radio, Vermont Public Radio and many public radio outlets around the country. Guests have included Adele, Hall & Oates, Citizen Cope, Buddy Guy, Carly Simon, Counting Crows and numerous other famous artists and rising stars.

Philly Rising and “The Best of What’s Next” (Wilmington) are two “open mike” nights that have become grooming grounds for local and regional artists, some of whom have risen to national and international prominence, like Melody Gardot.

WCL also hosts the Beta HiFi Fest, a summer institution in Philly and now also in Wilmington for local and regional bands to audition and compete in front of a jury of seasoned music industry professionals, leading to gigs on WCL’s main stages, recording opportunities and more.

Bridge Sessions (in partnership with – in both venues approximately 60 sessions per year - engages urban youth and special needs populations in interactive performances that explore diverse musical styles and cultures and spark learning that’s hands-on and alive.

ClassicAlive series (in partnership with presents at least a dozen concerts a year that expand how classical music is experienced by breaking boundaries of repertoire, collaboration and atmosphere in innovative concerts designed to attract both new audiences and long-time classical fans.

World Cafe also hosts a Monday Night Jazz Jams series in Philadelphia and the Wednesday night “4W5 Blues Jam” in Wilmington which provides an opportunity for musicians, young and old, including many national artists who live in either city as well as music students and players of all ages, to jam in front of live audiences in the intimate setting of WCL’s Upstairs Live venues.

In 2008, WCL helped a team of artists and educators launch LiveConnections.Org, (LCO) a nonprofit organization dedicated to music, education and support for artists through community engagement and educational programs. LCO creates innovative programs for kids, adults and special needs populations, host concerts for the community and helps artists grow their careers and their connection to the region. LCO programs help participants understand different cultures and perspectives and spark new ideas and creative expression across generations.


External links[edit]