New York’s best classical chat show is taken off air

New York’s best classical chat show is taken off air


norman lebrecht

November 13, 2014

Slipped Disc is shocked and dismayed to learn that WNYC’s Soundcheck is being taken off air from tomorrow.

Its host, John Schaefer, is the most knowledgeable and entertaining of his kind and the audience, while never huge, is enviably responsive. The music is eclectic, and by no means overwhelmingly classical.

The station says the show will continue to be broadcast on digital, but that means lots of older folk and people who listen in their cars will be cut off from John’s erudition and curiosity.

This is one bad decision by WNYC’s bean-counters. And you know what happens with bad decisions. They come in threes.

Raise your voices to put John Schaeffer back on air. Now. The person to write to is Laura Walker <>.

john schaeffer



  • Boring Fileclerk says:

    This is an outrage! There was no reason to take the show off the air!

  • Angela Stewart says:

    I never really thought of Soundcheck as a classical show. Seems way more pop / rock to me. WNYC seems to have ceded all classical to WQXR now.

    Still, think Schaefer is a good guy. Glad they are keeping him on in some capacity. He’s really unique in the breadth of his knowledge.

  • MWnyc says:

    Don’t worry, WNYC will not be getting rid of John Schaefer. He is something of a marquee name for the station, and his main program, New Sounds (weekdays, 11pm) is still quite popular. In fact, the morning e-newsletter I get from WNYC every day always has a list of the five most listened-to shows or segments, and at least one episode of New Sounds is on that list every day.

    John has spoken/written about this change, and quite honestly, he seems relieved. He said, in so many words, that Soundcheck gets far more listeners as a podcast than it pulls in on FM radio in its 9pm Mon-Fri time slot, and it’s just not worth it for him and his producers to keep busting their butts getting a three-segment show together and on the air five nights a week. And that’s in addition to the work on New Sounds

    (Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if pulling Soundcheck off the broadcast schedule was John’s idea.)

    There will be three Soundcheck podcasts a week, and John indicated that that’s a more manageable schedule. (He didn’t say this, but I suspect that, with a podcast-only format, he can delegate more work to the producers.)

  • MWnyc says:

    Norman, I don’t know how long ago you last appeared on Soundcheck, but it really hasn’t been a classical-oriented show for several years – probably since the WNYC Foundation acquired WQXR and shifted all its classical programming except New Sounds over there.

    I have at least part of the show playing on the radio most weeknights, and I don’t think it airs more than two classical segments a month, if that.