You may have heard that WNYC (the NPR affiliate in our hometown of New York City) threatened the closure of their Soundcheck and New Sounds shows — which would likely mean the departure of longtime, influential DJ and producer John Schaefer, who has been unusually supportive of our wacky band of artists over the years. "Sunsetting the program" is the creepy and Orwellian language which WNYC used to describe the change. You can read the New York times report right here.We happened to think "sunsetting" music programming on a radio station meant to serve the public interest of one of the world's urban cultural hubs was...a weird look? Sayeth our friends Buke and Gase in one social media post: Dear @wnyc , @newsounds and Soundcheck’s John Schaefer has been a floodlight in an abyss of popular music and politics who has helped us, among many other musicians, find new audience members who connect with what we do in a way that mainstream radio or internet streaming services never could - we are saddened to see that you are conforming to political-talk obsession. Curiosity is a virtue worth fostering!
As it turns out, Buke and Gase and us were not alone. Many other people shared our sentiment and this time...we won! Through our humble activist efforts and, more importantly, the efforts of John's loyal listeners and our extended creative family here in the city, the decision to remove New Sounds, Soundcheck and daily gig alerts has now been reversed. Read the full story about the station's "change of heart" in the face of this movement at Gothamist. (It should be said the *internal* opposition that WNYC faced from their own staff on this issue—including the reporting from the wholly-owned Gothamist website— was a crucial voice of advocacy.)
Anyway, point being, the #SaveNewSounds movement worked! It's worth taking a moment for us all to sit with this quote John shared with one reporter during the whole ruckus: “What I set out to do was to give a home on the radio to music that was, I guess, homeless — that didn’t fit into any of the neatly defined categories back in the days of the record store. I thought there were lots of people out there like me, who are just curious — and would like something if you just gave them the chance to hear it.”
As a label that's even some of our friends have accused of being a kind of "island of misfit toys" in a world of predictable music, it's a sentiment we are down with 100% — and we hope the very fact that you are reading this indicates that you agree with it too.