Bound for Glory has been on the air since 1967. Phil Shapiro, Cornell M.A. ’69, creator and host of Bound for Glory, has hosted and produced all but one or two of the over 1,500 live shows. When Cornell is on break, and the Cafe in Anabel Taylor Hall is closed, he hosts the show almost every week from the WVBR studios.
Bound for Glory got its start in 1967, the year folk legend Woody Guthrie died and Shapiro came to Cornell as a graduate student in economics. Shapiro started his show at WVBR’s studio, then located in the basement of Willard Straight Hall. The aspiring DJ started out spinning vinyl, but he soon added live performances by local musicians to the mix. In 1969, “Bound for Glory” began airing live from the coffeehouse at Anabel Taylor Hall, where it has
Shapiro’s promotional savvy and word of mouth soon made “Bound for Glory” a household name on the folk music circuit. Today, it’s a major tour stop for any folk singer–established or unknown. That’s an accomplishment in itself: no one gets paid money for appearing, or working, on Bound for Glory–including Phil Shapiro, the many loyal volunteers that help run the show, and the performers.
Bound for Glory performers do get compensated with an element that is all too rare these days, according to the show’s genial host. “They get paid in magic,” said Shapiro. “Our live audience is known far and wide as the best folk audience in the country. We have famous performers come back again and again.” Admission to the live performances has always been free, and everyone is always welcome.