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WNYC is cancelling New Sounds & Soundcheck

Ecstatic Music Festival: Julianna Barwick + ModernMedieval
John Schaefer at Ecstatic Music Festival in 2018 (more by David Andrako)

Radio host and author John Schaefer has hosted and produced New Sounds on WNYC since 1982, among other programs, but his time with the station is drawing to a close. Word has been spreading on twitter, from those in a position to know, that John’s shows, including New Sounds and Soundcheck, are losing their WNYC home by the end of the year. Judd Greenstein of New Amsterdam Records, the Ecstatic Music Festival & more, tweeted: “Just found out that @WNYC is cancelling John Schaefer’s shows. That’s a terrible decision, a terrible loss for our community, and casts the station in a terrible light. I’ve been listening to New Sounds since I was a kid, and once John finds a new home, I will continue to do so.” The source? Possibly a group email.

UPDATE: The New York Times confirms that WNYC is cancelling New Sounds, Soundcheck, and most of the rest of its music programming:

The station said in an email sent to its staff on Thursday that it planned to close the program by the end of the year, along with most of its remaining music programming, as it shifts to more news and talk.

“This is a continuation of the momentum that began when we replaced daytime music on WNYC-FM with news/talk format programs in 2002,” the station said in the email to its staff.

“The decision to sunset New Sounds wasn’t fueled solely by ratings,” Jennifer Houlihan Roussel, a spokeswoman for New York Public Radio, said in an email. “The WNYC audience is overwhelmingly a news/talk audience, and we are consolidating music to Saturday nights to better serve that listenership.”

As you can see in the tweets below, the eulogies have already begun pouring in.

Meanwhile, what may be the final New Sounds Live event happens on October 15 and 16 starting at 7:30 PM at Brookfield Place. The 2019 edition of the free annual event, curated, as ususal, by Schaefer, features New York-based group Ensemble Signal performing the music of Steve Reich. On 10/15 they’ll perform Music for 18 Musicians, and on 10/16, Piano Phase, My Name is, Four Organs, and New York Counterpoint. Schaefer will also appear in conversation with Steve Reich on 10/15. Find more info about the free events here.

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