Tuesday, October 06, 2009
Why is WNYC acquiring WQXR?
WNYC has been looking to find another FM frequency for dedicated music programming for several years. Preserving WQXR as the sole classical music station in New York City fits with WNYC’s goal to provide the most comprehensive news, music, and cultural programming in radio. We believe that a nonprofit media model suits WQXR and that replacing a commercial format with one that greatly reduces the volume of underwriting will engender more freedom in music programming. We are heartened by both the outpouring of public support and the Federal Communication Commission’s approval of our plan.
When will the transition occur?
WQXR will launch its new frequency on October 8th at 8pm, live from the stage of Carnegie Hall. WQXR’s first broadcast as a part of the WNYC family will be a live presentation of the first concert of Orpheus Chamber Orchestra’s 37th Season, airing on 105.9 FM and online at www.wqxr.org, hosted by David Garland and Midge Woolsey. The concert will also be simulcast on WNYC 93.9 FM.
What will the programming format be 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 will trade its commercial format of 60-second spots for a significantly reduced number of underwriting messages.
The music programming will take a more deliberate approach to the "best of the best" of the classical repertoire, with a particular focus on live music from New York’s unparalleled cultural scene. Music will be hosted by Jeff Spurgeon in the morning, Midge Woolsey in the afternoon and Elliott Forrest during the weekend brunch hour. WNYC's David Garland and Terrance McKnight, currently heard in the evenings on WNYC, will host classical music in the evenings on WQXR. Naomi Lewin, the new afternoon host, joins WQXR from WGUC, Cincinnati's Classical Public Radio. Lewin has also produced Met Cameos for the Metropolitan Opera's international radio broadcasts.
Listeners will 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 will 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, will now air at 11 PM, and its production will migrate to WNYC's studios in Hudson Square.
In addition, we will introduce live reports from the WNYC newsroom during drive time.
To download the new WQXR schedule, effective October 9th, click here
What will change on WNYC 93.9 FM and AM 820?
We will consolidate classical music programming on WQXR. Nonclassical music programming will remain on WNYC 93.9 FM and AM 820, and we will expand news, information and cultural programming on 93.9 FM during the evening and overnight hours. Weekends on 93.9 FM and AM 820 will change as well, starting October 10th. For more details from our programming team, please click here. And to download the new schedule for WNYC 93.9 FM and AM 820, effective October 9th, please click here
Why is WQXR being moved from 96.3 to 105.9?
The New York Times has sold 96.3 FM to Univision in exchange for 105.9 FM and $33.5 million. Univision will relocate its Spanish programming (now on 105.9) to 96.3. This three-way deal lets WNYC and the New York Times achieve their goal of preserving a dedicated classical music station on New York City’s FM dial. WNYC will purchase the venerable WQXR brand and website and the vacated frequency at 105.9 from the New York Times for $11.5 million dollars. WNYC will operate WQXR as a public radio station at 105.9 FM. To quote the renowned classical pianist Emanuel Ax, who is chairing our Campaign to Preserve Classical Music Radio in New York City, “I am happy to stand with WNYC as it carries off the sonic equivalent of saving Carnegie Hall from the wrecker’s ball by preserving WQXR as our sole all-classical music station. I know that all of my colleagues will rejoice in this wonderful and meaningful use of the airwaves, and I urge all of New York to embrace and support WNYC’s leap of faith.”
I listen to WQXR 96.3 or WNYC-FM 93.9 – will I be able to get reception on 105.9?
We hope so! 105.9 FM reaches the five boroughs as well as most of Westchester and Nassau counties in New York, Monmouth, Middlesex, Union, Essex, Hudson and Bergen counties in New Jersey, and parts of Fairfield County in Connecticut. Most people who live in these areas should be able to receive WQXR at its new location, 105.9. As well, we’ve been able to secure repeater options. Listeners in some areas can also tune in to WQXR on their cable television system or at other spots on the radio dial:
In the Hudson Valley, WQXR is carried on Time Warner Cable television channel 590.
In Poughkeepsie and the surrounding area, WQXR will continue broadcasting on the 103.7 FM. repeater
In Asbury Park, will continue broadcasting on 96.7 FM repeater
If your reception is fuzzy, consider attaching an antenna to your radio. For tips from our engineers about how to improve reception, please click here
For technical reasons, the signal at our new home of 105.9 is not as powerful as it was at our old frequency. About 86% of our listeners should still be able to tune us in. As dictated by the Federal Communications Commission, 105.9 is a class B1 station, which has slightly less reach and power than a full class B station. We are prohibited from changing or “boosting” the signal by the FCC’s terms of the license. That said, if you receive a very poor signal or no signal at all, for some options that might help please click here
Will you continue broadcasting WNYC’s 24-hour classical stream and HD feed?
Yes, we will continue transmitting that second music stream. Called Q2, it will be available as a web stream and via HD radio. You can find it on the web beginning October 9th at www.wqxr.org, and on 105.9 HD2. This 24/7 channel for contemporary and adventurous music will feature 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 two-hour version of Q2 will air on WQXR on Saturday nights at 10 PM, hosted by Terrance McKnight.
How will funds be collected for WQXR, and will there be 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-for-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 plan to introduce 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 in the form of support, concerns, or suggestions. Please join the discussion here.. As always, we invite you to write to WNYC’s Listener Services at firstname.lastname@example.org. We pass all feedback to our senior team and other relevant staff. You are also welcome to write to our external Community Advisory Board at email@example.com. 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 effort to acquire WQXR?
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 using our e-pledge. And thank you!