WQXR-FM sale gets FCC green light


The FCC has given its blessings for The New York Times Company to make its final curtain call and bow out entirely from the broadcasting business. The sale of its last station, Classical WQXR-FM New York, is going through despite citizen objections. As is often the case when a station with a beloved specialty format changes hands, its biggest fans are grief-stricken, and the next thing you know, they’re objecting to the FCC.

In this case, the protests, a mix of both formal and informal from at least five different parties, have less to worry about than usual, due to the complex nature of the transaction, which ultimately involves two stations and three licensees.

WQXR-FM is going to Univision for $45M, which will undoubtedly take it into the Hispanic radio world. But at the same time, Univision is selling its own WCAA-FM for $11.5M to noncommercial WNYC Radio, which promises to keep the Classical format intact.

Not that it matters. As the FCC pointed out for the umpteenth time, it has no say over programming decisions at any station. Since there is absolutely no question about Univision’s qualifications as a valid licensee, there is nothing to do but deny the complaints and approve the transaction.