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City of license New York City, New York
Broadcast area New York metropolitan area
Branding Radio Disney New York
Slogan Your Music, Your Way
Frequency 1560 kHz (also on HD Radio)
First air date March 26, 1929
(as experimental TV station W2XR)
Format Contemporary hit radio
Power 50,000 watts
Class A
Facility ID 29024
Transmitter coordinates 40°43′0″N 73°55′4″W / 40.71667°N 73.91778°W / 40.71667; -73.91778Coordinates: 40°43′0″N 73°55′4″W / 40.71667°N 73.91778°W / 40.71667; -73.91778
Callsign meaning Combination of former call signs WQXR and WNEW
Former callsigns W2XR (1929-1936)
WQXR (1936-1992)
Former frequencies 2100 kHz (1929-1934)
1550 kHz (1934-1941)
Affiliations Radio Disney (1998-2014)
Owner ABC, Inc. (Disney)
(Sale pending)
(Radio Disney New York, LLC)
Sister stations WABC-TV, WEPN, WEPN-FM
Webcast Listen Live
Website www.radiodisney.com

WQEW (1560 AM) is a Children's Contemporary hit radio formatted broadcast radio station licensed to New York City, serving the New York metropolitan area. The station is owned and operated by The Walt Disney Company. The WQEW broadcast license is held by Radio Disney New York, LLC.[1]

WQEW has a transmitter power of 50,000 watts and is listed as a Clear-channel station[2]. On some nights, WQEW can be picked up loud and clear as far West as Cleveland, Ohio, where it out performs WWMK (AM 1260) in its distance areas, and as far north as Ottawa, Canada.


Transmitting towers

John Hogan/Interstate Broadcasting ownership (1929-1944)[edit]

WQEW began its life as W2XR, an experimental television station, owned by inventor John V. L. Hogan, operating at 2100 kHz, which went on the air on March 26, 1929.[3] Hogan was a radio engineer who owned many patents, and wanted a permit for an experimental station. To avoid interference, the frequency granted in 1934 by the Federal Radio Commission was considerably above the normal broadcasting range, which at that time ended at 1500 kilocycles.[4] Hogan's permit was one of four construction permits; the others, all granted on the same day, were W1XBS Waterbury and W9XBY Kansas City, both on 1530 kHz, and W6XAI Bakersfield, which shared 1550 kHz with W2XR. W2XR was licensed as an "experimental broadcast station" on June 29, 1934.[5][6] But Hogan was also a connoisseur of music, and he drew on his own record collection to provide the sound for his experiments, which typically lasted for an hour in the evening. W2XR began to broadcast classical music recordings on 1550 kHz.[7] His television broadcasts came to naught, but Hogan began to hear from unknown individuals who encouraged him to continue broadcasting music.[8]

In 1936, Hogan and Elliott Sanger formed the Interstate Broadcasting Company, with the intention of turning W2XR into a commercial station at a time when there were already about twenty-five radio stations in New York. The transmitter, which used a homemade antenna mounted on a wooden pole, was located in a garage in Long Island City, near the Queensborough Bridge, and its 250 watts provided just enough power to reach midtown Manhattan and parts of Queens.[9] On December 3, 1936, W2XR became WQXR—the cursive form of the letter "Q" mimics the number "2". An FM service, W2XQR, was added in 1939. The North American Radio Broadcasting Agreement of 1941 formally extended the AM band to 1600 kHz, ending the "high-fidelity" service but keeping all four original stations near their existing dial positions. WQXR was originally slated to move to 1600 kHz as a five-kilowatt class III-A regional station, but was able to persuade the FCC to make it a class I-B station on 1560 kHz instead.

The New York Times years (1944-2007)[edit]

The New York Post approached the company in the early 1940s about purchasing the stations. Sanger said publicly that he would have preferred to sell to The New York Times, and in early 1944, the Times agreed to pay just over $1 million for ownership of Interstate Broadcasting Company. A transfer application was filed with the FCC on March 1, 1944,[10] including a financial statement showing that the stations had made over $22,000 in profits the previous year, on revenues of $411,000;[11] after FCC approval, the sale was completed on July 25, 1944. (The Times continued to operate its radio stations under the Interstate Broadcasting name for many years, maintaining what its president called "basic good-music policies,"[12] but now uses the name The New York Times Radio Company.) It broadcast classical music full-time.[13] In the 1960s, there was controversy when its 11 PM program "Nightcap" was sponsored by Schenley Liquors. Advertising hard liquor was considered a violation of the voluntary NAB standards.

In 1971, the Times put WQXR up for sale. Many offers were received for the FM station, but none of the bids for 1560 AM were satisfactory to management. When the FCC agreed to waive rules prohibiting stations from simulcasting if they were broadcasting classical music, the Times took WQXR off the market. Simulcasting was also allowed, for example, for WGMS and WGMS-FM in Washington.

In 1992 the station broke away from the FM simulcast for good, changing to a pop standards format, which was inaugurated by a live studio performance by Tony Bennett. The change followed close on the heels of WNEW's switch from standards to business information, and to reflect that heritage, WQXR changed callsign to WQEW. Although successful, the station's advertising revenues were not spectacular, and on December 28, 1998, the Times pulled the plug and affiliated with Radio Disney after entering an 8-year local marketing agreement with The Walt Disney Company.[14][15]

The Disney/ABC era (2007-present)[edit]

At the end of the agreement with the Times in late 2006, Disney had the option to purchase the station or to extend the arrangement with the Times maintaining ownership. Disney exercised the option to purchase in early January 2007.[16][17] Disney/ABC officially became the owner of the station on May 24, 2007.

On August 13, 2014, Disney put WQEW and twenty-two other Radio Disney stations up for sale, in order to focus more on digital distribution of the Radio Disney network.[18][19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "WQEW Facility Record". United States Federal Communications Commission, audio division. 
  2. ^ http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/am-broadcast-station-classes-clear-regional-and-local-channels
  3. ^ W2XR - Long Island City, NY - Early Television Museum
  4. ^ "WQEW 1560, New York - Tower site of the week". Fybush.com. Scott Fybush. March 21, 2008. Retrieved July 29, 2014. 
  5. ^ Radio Service Bulletin (222). Federal Communications Commission. July 1, 1934. 
  6. ^ "Happy Birthday WQXR!". New York Public Radio - WQXR-FM. December 3, 2009. Retrieved July 29, 2014. 
  7. ^ Radio Service Bulletin (219). Federal Radio Commission. May 15, 1934. 
  8. ^ Ivan Veit, preface to Howard Taubman, The New York Times Guide to Listening Pleasure (NY: Macmillan and London: Collier-Macmillan, 1968), pp. ix-x.
  9. ^ Ivan Veit, preface to Howard Taubman, The New York Times Guide to Listening Pleasure (NY: Macmillan and London: Collier-Macmillan, 1968), p. x.
  10. ^ "Actions of the Federal Communications Commission". Broadcasting and Broadcast Advertising (Washington, D.C.: Broadcasting Publications, Inc.) 26 (10): 60. March 6, 1944. 
  11. ^ "N. Y. Times Files Petition for WQXR". Broadcasting and Broadcast Advertising 26 (10): 18. March 6, 1944. 
  12. ^ Ivan Veit, preface to Howard Taubman, The New York Times Guide to Listening Pleasure (NY: Macmillan and London: Collier-Macmillan, 1968), p. xi. Veit defined good music as "any music that has lasting value . . . symphonies, concertos, chamber works, opera, of course; but also the best of the lighter forms, including operettas, Broadway show tunes, fold music, and the world of jazz."
  13. ^ Our Story - The New York Times Company
  14. ^ Hinckley, David (January 13, 1999). "DISNEY ON THE DIAL NEW STATION WQEW BETS IT CAN WIN PRE-TEENS WITHOUT DRIVING THEIR PARENTS UP THE WALL". The New York Daily News. Retrieved July 28, 2014. 
  15. ^ Blumenthal, Ralph (December 2, 1998). "WQEW-AM: All Kids, All the Time". The New York Times. Retrieved July 28, 2014. 
  16. ^ North East Radio Watch
  17. ^ Thomas, Jr., Landon (March 23, 2007). "Times Company Will Increase Dividend on Its Stock by 31%". The New York Times. Retrieved July 28, 2014. 
  18. ^ Lafayette, Jon (August 13, 2014). "Exclusive: Radio Disney Moving Off Air to Digital". Retrieved August 13, 2014. 
  19. ^ "Radio Disney to Sell the Majority of Its Stations". Billboard. Retrieved 13 August 2014. 


External links[edit]