Classical WQXR-FM New York is going noncommercial, and it’s heading for a new dial position. Next week, on 10/8/09, it packs its bags and moves several turns up the dial, from 96.3 MHz all the way to 105.9 MHz.
The FCC has green-lighted a deal in which the New York Times Company is selling the original 96.3 to Univision, which in turn is selling its 105.9 WCAA-FM to noncommercial WNYC Radio, along with the WQXR format and call letters.
“The transformation of NYC’s beloved all-classical music station WQXR into a public radio institution is truly a moment of inspiration and commitment for WNYC,” said Laura Walker, President and CEO of WNYC Radio. “Our organization has such great respect for the tradition of making the finest classical music accessible to all New Yorkers, and we are excited to blend this legacy with the vitality of and connection to the city WNYC is known for. We aspire to create a bridge from the great era of the New York Times’s 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 owner used its WNYC-FM for Classical music, along with news, talk and cultural programming, and puts the emphasis on breaking and international news on its WNYC-AM.
RBR-TVBR observation: Classical was always a very strong format, in the right location. It didn’t have to draw massive numbers because the audience it DID draw was usually the cream of the crop – the audience that might be interested in commercials about foreign travel packages and high-end automobiles. It’s really too bad to witness its near extinction in the commercial format world.