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WNYC To Switch Classical Music Station WQXR To 105.9 With Carnegie Hall Concert

wnyc-graphic.jpgThe FCC has approved WNYC‘s purchase of classical radio station WQXR from The New York Times Co., the public radio giant announced this morning. The classical radio station will move to a new spot on the dial, 105.9 FM, precisely at 8 pm on October 8. The switchover from Univision, which currently broadcasts at that frequency, will occur live on stage at Carnegie Hall and will be simulcast on WNYC 93.9 FM. Univision will shift its programming to 93.6 96.3 FM.

Classical music fans must have been relieved earlier this year when WNYC, the nation’s largest public radio station, emerged as a buyer for WQXR. They intend to transform the WQXR’s operation into a member-supported station and have launched the $15 million Campaign to Preserve Classic Music Radio in New York City.

“WQXR will operate out of WNYC’s new facilities on Varick Street in Hudson Square and the signal will continue to broadcast from the Empire State Building,” says the press release.

Read the whole thing after the jump.

Earlier: WNYC Buys NYT‘s Classical Music Station


WNYC to Launch WQXR on 105.9 FM on October 8 at 8pm

Switchover to New Frequency to Take Place Live from the Stage of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra’s Opening Night Concert at Carnegie Hall

(September 10, 2009 — New York, NY) — Laura Walker, the President and CEO, and Herb Scannell, Chair of the Board of Trustees of WNYC Radio, the nation’s largest public radio station, today announced that WQXR will launch at its new frequency at 105.9 FM on October 8th. The switchover will occur 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 Orpheus Chamber Orchestra’s first concert of their 37th Season, airing on 105.9 FM and via live webstream at www.wqxr.org. The concert will also be simulcast on WNYC 93.9 FM.

The announcement followed the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) initial approval of a 3-way deal between The New York Times, WNYC, and Univision that enables WNYC to preserve WQXR as New York City’s only 24-hour classical music station.

“It’s a thrill to be able to launch WQXR with our long-time friends from Orpheus and Carnegie Hall, organizations that share our commitment to keeping classical music accessible and relevant,” said Laura Walker, President and CEO of WNYC. “Their partnership in this landmark moment allows us to inaugurate WQXR with a continuation of its legacy of bringing the concert hall experience into the homes and lives of New Yorkers, as we simultaneously securing a future for classical radio in New York. Whether live in the audience, listening to the radio, or streaming us online, we invite all of New York to join us in this historic event.”

The evening’s performance by the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra will feature the World Premiere of Aaron Jay Kernis’ Concerto, The Echoes, which is part of Orpheus’s New Brandenburgs commissioning project. Also on the program is Stravinsky’s Dumbarton Oaks, Anton Webern’s arrangement of Bach’s Musical Offering “Ricercare”, and Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, featuring acclaimed violinist Janine Jansen.

“Both WQXR and WNYC have played an important and historic role in supporting the extraordinary musical life of our great city,” said Clive Gillinson, Carnegie Hall’s Executive and Artistic Director. “Carnegie Hall joins so many across the country, performers and listeners, who are overjoyed that we will continue to have a station devoted to classical music in New York City. This is vital for music as well as the people of New York. We’re delighted to be a partner and to have the next chapter of WQXR’s history launched at Carnegie Hall.”

“Orpheus is delighted to be part of this historic moment for music lovers in New York and beyond,” said Graham Parker, Executive Director, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. “Through the generous support of our broadcast sponsor, the MetLife Foundation, Orpheus looks forward to the sharing its performances Live from Carnegie Hall and continuing the strong relationship that we’ve enjoyed with WNYC and our new home WQXR.”

As a part of the WNYC family, WQXR, the nation’s oldest commercial classical music station, will be transformed into a listener-supported public radio station. WQXR will continue to air two of its most listened-to live programs — Metropolitan Opera Radio Saturday Matinee Broadcasts and The Philharmonic This Week — from 105.9 FM. The new WQXR will enhance and deepen WNYC and WQXR’s tradition of partnering with cultural institutions around the city to present live concerts and other special programming.

WNYC’s purchase of the broadcast license for 105.9 FM and the WQXR brand and website is being supported by The Campaign to Preserve Classical Music Radio in New York City, a $15 million campaign co-chaired by renowned classical pianist Emanuel Ax, along with WNYC Board members Nicki Newman Tanner and Martha Fleischman. The Campaign has raised $7.2 million to date.

The deal between The New York Times Company, WNYC Radio, and Univision was first announced in July 2009. As part of the transaction, Univision’s Spanish-language station WCAA 105.9 FM will move to 96.3 FM, WQXR’s former home. Univision will pay the Times Company $33.5 million to exchange the FCC 105.9 FM broadcast license and transmitting equipment for the Times Company’s license, equipment, and signal at 96.3 FM. WNYC will then purchase the FCC broadcast license for 105.9 FM, all related transmitting equipment, and WQXR’s call letters and Web site from the Times Company for $11.5 million.

WQXR will operate out of WNYC’s new facilities on Varick Street in Hudson Square and the signal will continue to broadcast from the Empire State Building.

–by Greg Wasserstrom

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