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Soundcheck Workshop

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Just like a band on tour pulls off the road and heads into the recording studio, Soundcheck will spend the summer off the air creating something new. We'll return after Labor Day with a new evening timeslot, a new and expanded digital presence, and a lineup of terrific live events. 

john schaefer

For the past 10 years, Soundcheck has been primarily a radio show, and it’s going to be a radio show in the future. But in the last few years, we’ve had a lot of success doing other things, too: Many of you have come to WNYC to watch the concerts we present in The Greene Space. In online forums, we’ve been getting you to discuss, argue and out-geek one another on our web page (especially during Soundcheck Smackdowns). We’ve been shooting videos that, in some cases, are attracting hundreds of thousands of views. (There’s a link on our site right now that will allow you to watch nearly six and a half hours of Soundcheck’s in-studio performances on YouTube. That’s longer than the original “Star Wars” trilogy.)

Here’s What We’re Going To Do

To put it bluntly: We want to do more of this stuff and build on our success. But we need time to lay a foundation, especially when it comes to our digital home. To return to the touring-band analogy (and then it ends here, we swear), it’s hard to write, record and produce new songs while you’re still on the road, er, producing a daily radio show.

John and the team at WNYC are going to build a better Soundcheck, one that reaches even more of you online and on the air. We want you to be able to find Soundcheck in more places and find more of what you like about Soundcheck: conversations about music, in-studio performances, and things you didn’t even realize you wanted to know about.


What Happens This Summer?

Even though Soundcheck won’t be on the air every day this summer, the show will be more active than ever online. Visit the Soundcheck page for daily blog posts from John – and subscribe to our Facebook, Twitter and other social media feeds so you’ll know when we post videos, web exclusives, Schaefer-curated playlists and more. Plus, the Soundcheck podcast will feature new interviews and performances, plus some of our favorites from our decade-deep archive.

You’ll be an important part of this process. As we road-test ideas for Soundcheck, we want to hear what you think works and what doesn’t. And, we’ll hear about your own musical self-improvement project, as we get status updates from listeners in our Summer Resolutions Challenge.

And, you’ll still hear Soundcheck pop up around WNYC this summer, with the daily Gig Alert on Morning Edition, newsroom features and other special broadcasts.


And Then What?

Soundcheck will return to WNYC after Labor Day as an on-air evening program. John Schaefer will still start thought-provoking conversations and welcome in-studio guests, but we’re planning some surprises for the broadcast.

By that time, our online presence will be redesigned and revamped. Many of you will watch it evolve over the summer – and some of you will help participate in its evolution.

Our goal: to find more ways to give you more Soundcheck.

Hosted by:

John Schaefer


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Comments [40]

I usually listen via the web, via the live broadcast, just whatever is on WNYC at the time. 2pm Soundcheck was a nice break from all the news.

Aug. 10 2012 04:55 PM

I've been a New Sounds downloader for a long time, and I'm getting used to finding Soundcheck instead of Soundcheck "just being there". But another listener made a comment that scared me....what IS happening with New Sounds? Both shows are irreplaceable.

Jul. 26 2012 03:54 PM

It's so interesting how we get into listening habits that shape our day. And how disrupting it is when things change. But the people who put the program together also have creative and intellectual needs -- particularly not doing the same thing over and over even when it's successful. There comes a time when even something -- a radio program -- that seems to be working well plays itself out. The trick is to recognize when that moment occurs and have the courage to shake things up. So I applaud John S for constantly reinventing his shows over the years -- keeping himself and the rest of us on our toes and opening our ears to what's happening now. Good luck!

Jul. 03 2012 12:02 PM

Come back soon! Your show is great. Shouldn't be replaced by yet another afternoon talk show.

Jun. 29 2012 05:31 PM
kelly from mamaroneck, ny

While I look forward to the new Soundcheck, I'm turning off WNYC at 3. The Takeaway is a disaster. I stopped pledging after it was introduced, re-started after it was moved to AM and will have to stop again. John Hockenberry just cannot ask questions or follow-up to answers. He simply lacks intellectual vigor I'm used to hearing on other WNYC programs (or among very average people, for that matter). Managers at WNYC appear to be blind to the program's many, many flaws. As a result, I'm going deaf at 3pm.

Jun. 22 2012 05:13 PM
Bill B from Long Island

Way too much talk on WNYC, a trend that's been ongoing since Laura Walker took over. First she eliminated Steve Post in the morning (that's when I dropped my annual contribution), then all daytime classical music, then evening music, and now Soundcheck. How long will it be now until the last token one-hour of music each day, New Sounds, is axed?

I really don't want or need talk all day, and I find myself listening more and more to the BBC, which still has a balanced mix of programming.

Jun. 20 2012 04:02 PM
Gerry in the Bronx from Bronx, NY

Love WNYC but need the MUSIC at 2 for a break from the talk talk. And, I agree, the evening show is a hard one to catch. Will miss you and your great talent interacting with the varied and various musicians you have had on your show.

Jun. 20 2012 02:40 PM
Frank Grimaldi from EV

I listened to Soundcheck on the air. I work for a company that has a firewall. I miss my 2PM fix.

Jun. 19 2012 09:45 PM
seth godin from Hastings On Hudson, NY

The negative comments are so hurtful. Joel, you and John create something generous and important, and asking someone to click a few times to use a podcast certainly seems like a small ask.

Shun the non-believers.

Can't wait until you're back.

Jun. 17 2012 10:59 AM
John McGovern from Huntington, NY

Come back soon! It's one of the finest radio shows there is. John Schaefer's musical erudition is astounding and his  on-air personality is warm, welcoming and humorous. Wholeheartdly agree with comments regarding abundance of music listening opportunities but dearth of intelligent commentary about music. Pete Fornatale is dead and Soundcheck is on hiatus - woe is me.

Btw - To take this gem out of the linep and insert Takeaway, the dumbest of dumbed-down shows on NPR is a travesty. I was appalled when this mess first appeared a couple of years ago in place of morning edition and delighted when it was "taken away" to the AM band.

Jun. 15 2012 09:58 PM
Connie from Westchester County, NY

I prefer the 2 pm time slot but will keep an open mind. Have a great summer, John and Joel! I know you're still working hard (you are, arem't you?). Will go the podcast route.

Jun. 14 2012 10:04 AM

Hey KP, Frank and others: You mentioned that you'll have a hard time catching the show in the evening this fall. When you listen in the afternoon, do you pretty much listen exclusively over the air? Or are you listening live on the web?

Jun. 14 2012 08:35 AM

Yeah, I'm going to disagree with the sentiment that we need to be listening to more music. We can listen to music all the time, that is what Spotify and Pandora do quite well. What we don't get from those online services is a better of understanding of the music. I personally don't subscribe to any magazines about music, so it was rather nice to have the artists on to talk about their music, it's a bonus to hear them play it.

Jun. 11 2012 05:21 PM
Kaitlin from Savannah, Georgia

When I moved to Brooklyn and didn't know anyone, John was the new friend who introduced me to the music scene, turned me on to good jams and just made every day that much awesomer, via Soundcheck and New Sounds. I'm glad for all the listeners in the new time slot who will get to meet him. Share the love.
Left NY but I brought WNYC with me. Far as I can tell, streaming and podcasts couldn't be improved unless maybe there were rainbows shooting out of my speakers. But I have faith in John's mastery.

...will there be rainbows???

Jun. 11 2012 01:28 AM

I can't say much more than others on the time slot change -- it is going to be tough to catch the show in the evenings for sure. Competes with too many other things. Also more live music and less talk about music cuts away too much from the 'value-added' of John's show, no? I kinda liked having both. I hope it is not true that the show lost funding...

Jun. 09 2012 10:52 AM
Debbie from Long Island

I hope you have more live performances with opportunities for us to buy tickets & be part of the experience live. One thing I hope that goes into the time capsule (never to come out again) is the SMACKDOWN (too lame). A more diverse mix of music that we can learn from, not just things we already know and have heard; and a new set of voices would be nice. I am used to learning something from Soundcheck, I'd like to continue to do so. New music, more music info, and different voices. That is what I'd like to hear

Jun. 06 2012 08:07 PM
Patti from Greenlawn

Ugh...I'm quite happy with the way the show has been: there is so much variety within the same format that, for me, it never needs updating. But I will try to follow you anywhere...evening, nighttime...and maybe it's finally time to explore the world of podcasts. Thank you for everything up until now, and for what I'm sure will be wonderful radio (or whatever) to come.

Jun. 05 2012 08:19 PM
David Vacek from Ft Collins, Colorado

Helo! We are a Ft Collins, CO Indie Blues influenced Blues/Americana/Blues Rock band named "Monkey Paw Finger".
We'd like to submit our music for John to review for possible airplay on his show. Where can we send it? Thanks!

Jun. 04 2012 12:17 PM

Ileen: Good idea -- at first, the podcasts will feature a mix of new and archival material. We'll note which ones have new stuff: Look for a new Patti Smith interview next week! Thanks for your idea -- Joel.

Jun. 02 2012 02:36 PM
Suzie from Bron x

By the way, your Summer Resolutions segment: LAME! And not just because I wasn't a part of it.

Carol King, Bob Dylan, Lost in the Woods?


Jun. 02 2012 11:00 AM
Linda Griggs from Lower East Side

I am really going to have to rethink my entire art studio painting schedule. My most productive work hours are the Leonard-John-Terry triumvirate.

This is worrisome.

Thank god you're not going away forever.

And thanks for the segment on summer resolutions. I think it was a nice way to let the die hard fans say goodbye for now.

Jun. 01 2012 04:13 PM

Please be sure to label the podcasts as new content or best of. I look forward to hearing the new content over the summer and am confident there will be a lot to enjoy about the new version of Soundcheck in the fall.

Jun. 01 2012 12:14 AM
Jim N from Jersey City, NJ

Please rethink eliminating Soundcheck at 2 PM when it returns after Labor Day.

May. 31 2012 07:23 PM
Ken in Orange County, NY

If Monte Rock III is going to make a statement like the one below, he should substantiate it.

May. 31 2012 05:42 PM
Ken from Orange County, NY

I respectfully disagree with zspoppa above. There are plenty of ways to hear music....keep talking about it. I look forward to the changes and appreciate the lengths to which are communicating with listeners. So many shows/stations just change without any forewarning.

May. 31 2012 04:39 PM
Mimi from NY

I was so thankful when Soundcheck appeared at 2pm when, as an early bird I didn't have to stay up late to hear John's brilliant programming, and as I commuted from job to job I could relax and listen to really cool stuff.....ahhh! :-( I miss sorely miss this mid-day treasure! M

May. 31 2012 02:46 PM
ted in atlanta from a state of minor shock

Wow... although I am not as able to listen right now at 2:00, I sure did think it was a better time than the evening... and definitely a better time to comment than while trying to do dinner or head out and about. But all things must change, as we know. Anxiously awaiting the details... and I hope to participate in the challenge!

May. 31 2012 02:41 PM

the show needs a major overhaul, glad this is happening

May. 31 2012 02:30 PM

Hey Jan, Suzie, Rick and everyone: Thanks so much for leaving these comments. It's definitely going to be adjustment for you, the listener, but we hope that you'll check in with us often this summer -- AND tell us what you think of the stuff we're doing online. From a single Smackdown to this big summer project, your input really does shape the show. Thanks for listening and talk to you soon. -- Joel

May. 31 2012 02:15 PM

Sally forth, Soundcheck. No reward comes without risk.

May. 31 2012 10:12 AM
Jan from Hoboken

I'm totally bummed. I look forward to hearing Soundcheck while I work - during the day. And Radiolab every day all summer? Don't get me wrong, I love the show, but I've heard them all. Several times. Hey WNYC, why not play some new shows, say, Snap Judgement? And I HOPE that in the fall Soundcheck will at least be replayed at 2:00 PM every day.

May. 30 2012 09:29 PM
Suzie from Bronx

Boo hiss on the new time slot. Why?

May. 30 2012 07:45 PM

Anything that tilts the balance on WNYC away from TALKING about music towards PLAYING performances of music is a good move.
The on-air blathering that has dominated 'NYC's programming since the early years of the century has been a loss to the metro-area arts environment, and the acquisition of WQXR, with its history of middlebrow, ballet 'n Baroque heavy playlists, has done little to fill the gap. Q2? Not if you don't have an HD radio. And it's no substitute for live broadcasts by knowledgeable hosts backed by adventurous program directors.
Less talk. More music.

May. 30 2012 04:18 PM
Monte Rock III

Sounds like somebody lost their funding.

May. 30 2012 03:43 PM

Hey Len: We'll return to the air after Labor Day. During the summer, we'll produce podcasts and much more!

May. 30 2012 03:20 PM
Frank L

Way to ruin my summer work day! Wish I could listen in the evenings when you return but I'll be out seeing and playing live shows.

May. 30 2012 03:03 PM
Len Goldenson

In other words, you're going to be a podcast.

May. 30 2012 02:55 PM
judy from NYC

I'm relieved. I was afraid you were going to be on 3 times a day.

May. 30 2012 02:45 PM
Rick from NYC

No SOUNDCHECK over the summer?!?! WTF, John? WAY to put the kibosh on my summer! :( ;)

so, what's taking over SOUNDCHECK's time slot? Seriously, SOUNDCHECK moving to the evening sucks! don't most people listen to WNYC in the DAYTIME? anyway, good luck to you this summer with your upgrades, and I guess I'll be listening to the PODCAST when you return in the fall. have a GREAT summer!

May. 30 2012 02:19 PM
Mary P from downtown


No 2p Soundcheck??????????????????????
[she shouted while starting to download all the ones she missed in the archive]

okay change is good and all that but we LOVE our weekday workday connection to our musical artistic side of our brains?

All I know is 2pm dose of John Schafer [and the most fun and easy part of my ongoing musical education sounds really dire to me.

say it ain't so

May. 30 2012 02:18 PM

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