Why did WNYC acquiring WQXR?

WNYC had been interested in finding another FM frequency for dedicated music programming for several years. Preserving WQXR as the sole provider of dedicated classical music for New York City on the FM dial fit with WNYC’s goal to provide the most comprehensive news, music and cultural programming radio has to offer. We believe that a non-profit media model suits WQXR – replacing a fully commercial format with a greatly reduced volume of underwriting will engender more freedom in the music programming – and we are heartened by both the outpouring of support we’ve received and the Federal Communication Commission’s approval of the plan.

When did the transition occur?

WQXR launched at its new frequency at 105.9 FM on October 8. The switchover occurred at 8pm, live from the stage of Carnegie Hall. WQXR’s first broadcast as a part of the WNYC family was a live presentation of Orpheus Chamber Orchestra’s first concert of their 37th Season, airing on 105.9 FM and via live webstream at www.wqxr.org and hosted by David Garland and Midge Woolsey. The concert was also simulcast on WNYC 93.9 FM.

What is the programming format for Classical WQXR 105.9?

WNYC President and CEO Laura Walker says, “We aspire to create a bridge from the great era of the New York Times’ ownership to a vibrant future for classical music on radio and online by staying true to our commitment to the audience first, and by enlivening the experience through partnerships with our colleagues at other New York cultural institutions.”

The "new" WQXR traded its commercial format of 60-second spots for a significantly reduced number of underwriting messages.

The music programming takes a more deliberate approach to the "best of the best" of the classical core, with a particular focus on live music from New York’s unparalleled cultural scene.  Music is hosted by Jeff Spurgeon in the morning, Midge Woolsey in the afternoons and Elliott Forrest during the weekend "brunch" hour.  WNYC's David Garland and Terrance McKnight, fomerely heard in the evenings on WNYC, host classical music in the evenings on WQXR.  Naomi Lewin, the new afternoon host, joined WQXR from WGUC, Cincinnati's Classical Public Radio. Lewin has also produced Met Cameos for the Metropolitan Opera's international radio broadcasts.

Listeners continue to hear many of their favorite shows at the same times as in the past, such as the Metropolitan Opera Radio Saturday Matinee Broadcasts, The Philharmonic This Week on Thursday evenings, McGraw Hill Young Artists Showcase on Wednesday evenings, and Symphony Hall each weeknight.  They also hear more programming from the city's cultural organizations such as the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.  Exploring Music, hosted by Bill McLaughlin, is now heard at 11 PM. 

In addition, we provide live reports from the WNYC newsroom during drive time.

To download the new WQXR schedule effective October 9, click here.

What will change on 93.9 FM and AM820?

We consolidated classical music programming on WQXR (non-classical music programming will remain on 93.9 FM and AM820) and we expanded the news, information and cultural programming on 93.9FM during the evening and overnight hours.  Weekends on 93.9 and AM820 changed as well, starting October 10. To read details from our programming team, click here.

Download the new schedule for 93.9 and AM820 that went into effect October 9, click here.

Why did WQXR move from 96.3 to 105.9?

The New York Times sold 96.3 FM to Univision in exchange for 105.9 FM and $33.5 million. Univision relocated their Spanish programming from 105.9 to 96.3. In order to achieve the shared goal of WNYC and the New York Times to preserve a dedicated classical music station on New York City’s FM dial, WNYC purchased the WQXR brand and website and the vacated frequency 105.9 from the New York Times for $11.5 million dollars.


Will you continue broadcasting WNYC’s 24-hour classical stream and HD feed?

Yes, we have continued that second music stream. Called Q2, it is available as a web stream and via HD radio. You can find it on the web at www.wqxr.org, and on 105.9 HD2.  This 24/7 channel for contemporary and adventurous music features large-scale festival programming and live concerts from venues around New York (including our own Jerome L. Greene Performance Space). Limor Tomer, our executive producer for music, likes to describe this stream as “500 years of New Music.”  A weekly two-hour version of Q2 will air on WQXR on Saturday nights at 10pm, hosted by Terrance McKnight.

How are the funds be collected for WQXR, and are there fund drives?

We view the acquisition of WQXR as a unique opportunity to serve New York City and our listeners, and we are raising discrete funds for the cause. We’ve established the Campaign to Preserve Classical Music Radio in New York City, with the goal of securing $15 million in pledges by October 2010. We are delighted to announce that the Jerome L. Greene Foundation, the Campaign’s lead donor, has agreed to a one-to-one $5 million challenge grant, and that the Campaign has raised $7.2 million to date.

We plan to transform WQXR from its commercial model to a public radio model funded by contributions from members and other individual donors, private foundations, city, state and federal entities, and corporate underwriting. And yes, we have introduced pledge drives to the WQXR audience as part of the public radio commercial-free format.

How do I weigh in on the change?

We welcome comments from our listeners, whether we hear support, concerns or suggestions. Please join the discussion here.  As always, we invite you to write to Listener Services at listenerservices@wqxr.org – we pass on all feedback to our senior team and any other relevant staff. You are welcome as well to write to our external Community Advisory Board at cab@wnyc.org. All Community Advisory Board meetings are open to the public and we know that they would welcome hearing your thoughts in person. Go to wnyc.org/about/cab for a schedule of meetings.

How can I contribute to the WQXR campaign?

You can send a check payable to WNYC RADIO, P.O. Box 1550, New York, NY 10116-1550. Please be sure to put “WQXR” on the memo line. Or click here to contribute by credit card by using our e-pledge. And thank you!