Is New York Noise a Victim of NYC-TV’s Post-Scandal Rebranding?


Still stand by this declaration: “New York Noise >>>>>> any music blog ever.” A cultural staple of Bloomberg’s city-television network NYC-TV, the music-video show we’ve spent years glued to predates YouTube, the music-vlog trend of filming bands playing in novel locations, and nearly all MP3 blogs. (New York Noise first aired in 2003; Fluxblog began at the end of 2002.) And it’s far better than anything like it on the Internet.

Created by former station intern Shirley Braha, a typical hour-long episode showcases approximately 12 videos from indie artists (last season saw Fever Ray, Marnie Stern, and Passion Pit among others) with interstitial band interviews and footage of good-humored adventures, like, say, a whistling champion puffing out M.I.A., Jens Lenkman, and Dirty Projectors songs, or the Fiery Furnaces getting fire-safety lessons from the FDNY. One post-punk-themed installment featured Simon Reynolds repping his related book while people got “post-punk haircuts”; another had school kids critiquing LCD Soundsystem. The show’s appeal is nostalgic, celebratory, and relevant, a rare feat for a government-sponsored project, and in eight seasons, it’s become a 21st-century 120 minutes with lower overhead and a sense of humor.

But now New York Noise is virtually nowhere to be found. Reruns have shifted from Wednesdays at 11pm and midnight on Sundays–when Cable-less creative-class types would actually see them–to Tuesday at 5 am, a zone meant for workout routines, nursing mommies, and traffic reports. The official online archives have vanished, though the site for old-school hip-hop original The Bridge remains. And according to programming director assistant to programming director Molly McBride, the show is “not in production.”

New York Noise‘s public disappearance comes in the wake of an NYC-TV scandal our esteemed colleague Tom Robbins documented at length last summer. Since then, management has been completely overhauled at the station, with four top employees forced out. NYC-TV has rebranded itself almost entirely, with a new logo, web site, even a new name–the station’s now calling itself NYC life (lower case “life” and everything). And so it’s quite possible that a self-contained project like New York Noise is not a part of the new administration’s plans.

If so, that would be a shame. Never mind that the show was excellent, New York Noise‘s subject matter isn’t niche like it might’ve been in 2003. Take, as a glowing example, Vampire Weekend, New York’s very own success story, who’ve been prominent in the show’s programming and just had the number one record in the country. Or that New York Magazine made a spectacle of itself last year with their cover story that gushed, smack dab in a subheadline, “Not since CBGB’s heyday has New York produced so many exciting bands.” Hell, our friendly neighborhood DIY promoter Todd Patrick, whose past SXSW shows at Ms. Bea’s New York Noise covered, is organizing his own Mexican festival. Local independent music is practically mainstream.

McBride couldn’t tell us whether or not New York Noise would ever return–she suggested yesterday we call back in May or June. In the meantime, NYC life brings us MODELINIA Fashion Week TV, hosted by supermodels Veronica Webb and Coco Rocha, which the official web site justifies thusly: “New York City is the global capital of fashion, employing over 175,000 people and generating $1.6 billion in annual tax revenue. In addition, the City is home to more than 5,000 wholesale showrooms, more than any city worldwide, and is host to 75 major fashion trade shows. And, a major part of the industry’s impact on our City’s economy stem from the bi-annual Fashion Weeks, bringing thousands of out-of-town visitors to the City and generating $466 million in direct visitor spending annually. Because of the role the fashion industry plays in New York City, NYC life, the official television network of the City of New York, will air Modelinia Fashion Week TV.”

Uh huh. I want my New York Noise.

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