WQXR Celebrates 80 Years on the Air!

WQXR Celebrates 80 Years on the Air!

Anniversary to Feature Recreation of First Broadcast, Listener Memories, a Playlist of Prominent NYC Composers and a Digital Timeline

The Empire State Building to Celebrate WQXR’s Milestone with Special Tower Lighting

Saturday, December 3, 2016

(New York, NY – December 2, 2016)WQXR, New York’s only all-classical radio station, will celebrate 80 years of bringing joy and passion through classical music on Saturday, December 3, 2016 with a day of special programming, on air and online.

At 4pm – the exact time WQXR went live on December 3, 1936 – the station will recreate its inaugural broadcast, presenting the same works in the same order. In the evening, the Empire State Building will honor the station’s milestone by lighting up its tower in WQXR’s signature blue.

Throughout the day, WQXR will air stories and memories of when listeners first discovered the station. Listeners can email their recollections to mystory@wqxr.org and share their thoughts on social media with the hashtag #HappyBirthdayWQXR. The festivities will continue with a special playlist of prominent NYC composers, ensembles and soloists, and a digital timeline of the station’s history, which will be available at wqxr.org/timeline

“We’re thrilled to celebrate WQXR’s 80th anniversary and what it means to this city and audiences everywhere,” said Mikel Ellcessor, Interim General Manager, WQXR. “WQXR has been a gathering place for people who know and hunger for the inspiration and excitement that comes with classical music. It's been a privilege to transport people in to New York's premiere concert halls and help them place this music in the center of their lives. We’re excited to see what the next 80 years will bring.”


A Brief History of WQXR

The nation's first commercial classical radio station began in 1936 when W2XR owner and founder John Hogan joined with advertising executive Elliott Sanger to create the Interstate Broadcasting Company. The company's chief asset was W2XR.  In December 1936, W2XR's call letters were changed to WQXR. The FM station signed on in 1939 and both were sold to The New York Times Company in 1944. The Times Company completed the sale of the AM station to Radio Disney in 2007.  The sale of WQXR-FM to WNYC was approved by the FCC on September 8, 2009 in a multipart deal including Univision, which closed on October 8, 2009. On July 29, 2013 WQXR completed purchase of a repeater station located in Ossining, NY. The new station with call letters WQXW broadcasts WQXR to Westchester Country. 


WQXR 105.9 FM, which streams live at www.wqxr.org, is New York City’s only all-classical music station, immersing listeners in the city’s rich musical life. WQXR presents new and landmark classical recordings as well as live concerts from Carnegie Hall, the Metropolitan Opera, the New York Philharmonic, among other venues. WQXR also broadcasts essential destination programs including New York Philharmonic This Week and Young Artists Showcase. For listeners in search of the new, WQXR operates Q2 Music, an online music stream dedicated to contemporary classical composers, cross-genre adventures, and performances from New York City's edgier venues. Operavore is WQXR’s opera site featuring news, interviews, and commentaries from the world of opera, as well as a 24/7 all-opera stream. WQXR.org provides essential playlist information and online listening, as well as original content, host blogs, NYC cultural news, and videos.  The station’s free mobile app allows listeners to take WQXR with them wherever they go. As a public radio station, WQXR is supported by the generosity of its members and sponsors, making classical music relevant, accessible and inspiring for listeners in New York City and around the globe.