The New York Times is out of radio, selling historically noteworthy commercial classical music station WQXR(FM) to pubcaster WNYC Radio for a deal totaling $45 million. Three parties are involved: WNYC, The New York Times and Univision.
WNYC will own the WQXR call letters and move the classical format to 105.9 FM in October. WQXR then will operate out of WNYC’s new facilities in Hudson Square and will continue to transmit its signal from the Empire State Building.
It will become a public radio station, complete with underwriting announcements instead of advertisements.
The Times reports that the 600-watt signal now at 105.9 is home to Univision’s tropical-formatted WCAA(FM), which will move to WQXR’s 96.3 MHz frequency and increase power up to 6 kW.
Univision will pay the Times Company $33.5 million to exchange the 105.9 FM license and transmission equipment for the Times Company’s license, equipment and signal at 96.3 FM. At the same time, WNYC will purchase the FCC license for 105.9 FM, all related transmission equipment, WQXR’s call letters and Web site from the Times Company for $11.5 million.
WNYC has launched a $15 million fundraising campaign to help with the purchase and additional station operation.
Dow Jones Newswires, in its coverage of the sale, wrote that the New York Times Co., “which has been struggling amid a prolonged advertising slump and a migration to the Internet, has been exploring the sale of some assets for some time to deal with its debt load.” The news service noted that WQXR was founded in 1936 as the country’s first commercial classical station. The FM signed on in 1939 and both were sold to New York Times in 1944. The AM was sold to Radio Disney three years ago.