Public radio station WNYC announced that it has purchased WQXR and 105.9 FM from The New York Times. Univision will pay the Times Company $33.5 million to exchange the FCC 105.9 FM broadcast license and transmitting equipment for the Times Company’s license, equipment, and signal at 96.3 FM. WNYC will preserve WQXR’s 73-year classical-music format and move it to 105.9 FM. As part of the WNYC family, WQXR will be transformed into a public radio station. To help with the purchase and ongoing operation of the station, WNYC has launched a $15 million campaign co-chaired by pianist Emanuel Ax and WNYC board members Nicki Tanner and Martha Fleischman. The Jerome L. Greene Foundation is the campaign’s lead donor and has issued a $5 million challenge grant based on 1-to-1 pledges from individuals, foundations, and corporations. WQXR will begin airing on 105.9 FM in October and will operate out of WNYC’s new facilities on Varick Street in Manhattan. The signal will continue to be broadcast from the Empire State Building. WNYC intends to continue the WQXR programs Saturday Afternoon at the Opera and The Philharmonic This Week. Zarin Mehta, President and Executive Director of the New York Philharmonic, said, “This is great news for classical-music lovers, as well as those who support the arts and culture in the city. WQXR has always been more than a classical music station—it is a destination on the radio dial where you can hear about a variety of cultural events.”

Posted July 14, 2009

Photo of WNYC President and CEO Laura Walker by Scott Ellison Smith