The station said in its email to staff that it would “sunset the New Sounds brand (the radio program and digital stream)” as well as Soundcheck, another of Mr. Schaefer’s shows, which mixed live performances, artist interviews and talk, and which was moved online in 2014. It said that it would also end its Gig Alerts, its weekly music previews, and its Sunday afternoon show devoted to American standards by the end of the year. Its last remaining program featuring what it calls “playlist music” will be The Saturday Show, the American-songbook successor to Mr. Schwartz’s program, which plays on Saturday nights.
When “New Sounds” started, radio was still one of the few ways to hear new and offbeat music — a monopoly it has lost in recent years to the internet, and to streaming services. The station did not disclose its ratings, but said that other factors also played a role in the decision to end the program.
“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.”
Still, some artists were aghast. Julia Wolfe, a Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, said that a “New Sounds” program about the early days of Bang on a Can, which she helped found, helped them find new listeners at a key moment.
“It was huge, because we were just kids, and we did this crazy thing, and there it was, on the radio,” she recalled in an interview.