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City of license Newark, New Jersey
Broadcast area New York City metropolitan area
Branding Classical 105.9 FM WQXR
Slogan "New York's Classical Music Station"
Frequency 105.9 MHz (also on HD Radio)
105.9-2 FM for Q2
First air date November 26, 1939
Format Classical
ERP 610 watts
HAAT 416 meters
Class B1
Facility ID 46978
Transmitter coordinates 40°44′54.00″N 73°59′10.00″W / 40.7483333°N 73.9861111°W / 40.7483333; -73.9861111
Callsign meaning a nod to the calls of 1929 experimental station W2XR. The cursive version of Q mimics the number 2.
Former frequencies 96.3 (MHz) (1944–2009)
Owner New York Public Radio
Sister stations WNYC, WNYC-FM, New Jersey Public Radio, WQXW
Webcast WQXR Webstream
Q2 Webstream
Website wqxr.org
Q2 website

WQXR-FM (105.9 FM) is an American classical radio station licensed to Newark, New Jersey and serving the New York City metropolitan area. It is the most-listened-to classical-music station in the United States, with an average quarter-hour audience of 63,000.[citation needed] On the air since 1939, the station is also one of the oldest continuously operating FM stations in the world.

It is owned by the nonprofit New York Public Radio, which also operates WNYC (820 AM and 93.9 FM) and the four-station New Jersey Public Radio group. New York Public Radio acquired WQXR on July 14, 2009, as part of a three-way trade which also involved The New York Times Company – the previous owners of WQXR – and Univision Radio.[1] WQXR-FM broadcasts from studios and offices in the Hudson Square section of Manhattan, and the transmitter is located atop the Empire State Building.

At 8:00 p.m. on October 8, 2009, Univision's WCAA moved to the 96.3 FM frequency while WQXR-FM moved to 105.9 FM becoming a non-commercial radio station run by New York Public Radio.[1][2] Within that next week WCAA, now on 96.3, changed its call letters to WXNY-FM.

Translators and relays[edit]

Call sign Frequency
City of license ERP
Class Transmitter coordinates FCC info
W244AS 96.7 FM Oakhurst, New Jersey 8 D 40°14′20″N 74°02′40″W / 40.23889°N 74.04444°W / 40.23889; -74.04444 (W244AS) FCC
W279AJ 103.7 FM Highland, Ulster County, New York 10 D 41°41′58″N 74°00′12″W / 41.69944°N 74.00333°W / 41.69944; -74.00333 (W279AJ) FCC
WQXW 90.3 FM Ossining (town), New York 53 A 41°09′7″N 73°47′10″W / 41.15194°N 73.78611°W / 41.15194; -73.78611 (WQXW) FCC


See also: WFME History


WQXR-FM is the outgrowth of a "high-fidelity" AM station, WQXR (1560 AM), which was founded in 1936 by John V. L. Hogan and Elliott Sanger. Hogan began this station as a mechanical television station, W2XR, which went on the air on March 26, 1929.[3]

The radio station broadcast mainly classical music recordings. One of the station's listeners was the inventor of frequency modulation, Edwin Howard Armstrong. When Armstrong put his experimental FM station, W2XMN, on the air, he arranged to rebroadcast some of WQXR's programming. This ended in 1939, when Hogan and Sanger put their own experimental FM station on the air, W2XQR, just down the dial from Armstrong at 42.3 MHz.

When the Federal Communications Commission began licensing commercial FM stations, W2XQR moved to 45.9 MHz and became W59NY; the special FM call signs were later dropped and the station became WQXQ.

"The radio station of the New York Times"[edit]

In 1944, Hogan and Sanger sold their holding company, Interstate Broadcasting Company, to the New York Times Company. When the FM band was moved from 42–50 MHz to its present frequency range of 88–108 MHz in 1945, WQXQ moved to 97.7 MHz. Within a few years, the station had adopted its current callsign, WQXR-FM, and its frequency for the next 64 years, 96.3 MHz.

Older logo of WQXR displaying both FM and AM frequencies

WQXR was the first AM station in New York to experiment with broadcasting in stereo, beginning in 1952. During some of its live concerts, it used two microphones positioned six feet apart. The microphone on the right led to its AM feed, and the one on the left to its FM feed, so a listener could position two radios six feet apart, one tuned to 1560 and the other to 96.3, and listen in stereo.

During the 1950s, WQXR-FM's programming was also heard on the Rural Radio Network on several stations in Upstate New York, including ones targeting Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Albany. This ended when the RRN stations were sold to Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network. Both the AM and FM sides continued to simulcast each other until 1965, when the FCC began requiring commonly owned AM and FM stations in large markets to broadcast separate programming for at least part of the day. WQXR-FM concentrated on longer Classical works, while WQXR (AM) aired lighter Classical music and talk programs produced in conjunction with The New York Times. While this plan gave Classical music fans two options, it also increased expenses for the stations.

In 1962, the QXR network was purchased by Novo Industrial Corporation but WQXR remained under the New York Times Company ownership.[4]

WQXR's final logo at 96.3 FM

After briefly attempting to sell the WQXR stations in 1971, The New York Times was able to get a waiver of the simulcasting rules. The stations continued to duplicate each other until 1992, when the AM side changed its programming from classical to popular standards, becoming WQEW (it is now WFME). In 1998, the Times entered into a long-term lease for WQEW with ABC, a move which brought Radio Disney to New York City. The Times Company also included a purchase clause in the lease contract, and ABC exercised the option in 2007. This left WQXR-FM as the Times 's lone radio station and, following a sale of its group of television stations to the Local TV LLC company that same year, the Times Company's sole remaining broadcasting property.

Sale to New York Public Radio and change of frequency[edit]

On July 14, 2009, the New York Times Company announced it was trading the 96.3 frequency to Univision Radio in return for the 105.9 frequency of Univision's WCAA. The sale was slated to close in the second half of 2009. At 8 p.m. on October 8, 2009, WCAA and WQXR traded frequencies.

The frequency swap was part of a three-way deal between Univision, the New York Times Company and New York Public Radio. Univision paid the New York Times Company $33.5 million to trade broadcasting licenses with the Times. New York Public Radio then paid the New York Times Company $11.5 million for 105.9 FM’s license, equipment and the WQXR call letters and website. [2] As a result of the deal, WQXR became a non-commercial public radio station operated by New York Public Radio and now runs three on-air pledge drives a year.

Change in coverage area[edit]

WQXR's first logo as WQXR 105.9fm

WQXR has less range and population coverage on 105.9 than it had with its old signal on 96.3. WQXR's old and new signals both radiate from the same FM master antenna atop the Empire State Building; but while WQXR's old signal (now WCAA's) is 6,000 watts ERP (effective radiated power—the energy concentrated toward the horizon), its new signal (WCAA's old one) is 600 watts. The calculated signal strength of the new signal at 30 miles (covering about 14.5 million people) is less than the old 96.3 FM signal at 42 miles (covering about 17.1 million people). Further compromising coverage is Hartford's WHCN, which also broadcasts on 105.9 FM. While WHCN has a directional signal with reduced wattage toward WQXR's transmitter, the two stations do interfere with each other where their signals overlap.[citation needed]

WQXR operates two translator stations – 103.7 in Highland, New York and 96.7 in Asbury Park, New Jersey. WQXR's audio is carried over WNYC's HD2 channel at 93.9 FM, and over Time Warner Cable television channel 590 in the Hudson Valley, New York.[5] On July 29, 2013, WQXR began broadcasting on the former WDFH, now WQXW (90.3 FM) in Ossining, New York, covering northern and central Westchester County.[6]

Worldwide, WQXR's standard programming is available on its Webcast, and the station also has a Webcast called Q2, focusing on classical works by living composers. Q2's daily playlist is called Living Music, Living Composers.[7]


As with most remaining classical music stations in the U.S., the station's playlist has changed over the years to focus on shorter and more easily assimilated pieces and away from long pieces and most vocal music including opera. However, when compared to music programming from WQXR's early days (1940s and 1950s) the change in music is not as pronounced as might be expected. The station does, however, play a fair amount of 20th-century classical works. It also continues to play long pieces during special broadcasts, and during evening hours (7 p.m. to 6 a.m.) and also broadcasts a complete opera at least once a week. Most notably, it is the headquarters for broadcasting the Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts each Saturday afternoon during its season, from December to April.

In addition to music, WQXR had newscast and financial updates of various lengths, from thirty seconds to three minutes, prepared initially by Bloomberg Radio (WBBR-AM 1130 kHz New York City). Over the years, the prominence that WQXR afforded to news first rose, then steadily diminished. During the 1950s and 1960s, WQXR provided five minutes of news each hour, uninterrupted by commercials. "Every hour on the hour, the New York Times brings you the latest news bulletins." These bulletins focused heavily on New York City, New York State, national, and international developments. It also featured a weather forecast for the New York Metropolitan area. Sports was almost never included. This presentation expanded during the 1960s to a fifteen-minute "early evening news roundup" at 6:00 p.m. WQXR dissolved its two-person news department in late 2008. It had broadcast from the actual newsroom of The New York Times at 229 West 43rd Street, 1.4 miles from WQXR's studios at Fifth Avenue and 18th Street.

WQXR relied on New York Times contributors for a number of short-form features, such as "The Front Page of Tomorrow's New York Times" broadcast six evenings at 9:00 PM and prepared by Times reporter James Barron, also a weekly fifteen-minute book feature prepared in conjunction with the New York Times Book Review editors, a weekly review of dance, and weekday reports on theatre, dining and wine. The New York Times White House correspondent also had frequent reports which were aired during the Morning Show. Since the transfer of ownership to New York Public Radio, the station has aired brief news updates during drive time from the WNYC newsroom.

WQXR also broadcast some religious services, including a weekly Lutheran service from the previous week on Sunday morning, as well as Sunday morning services, alternately, from two Unitarian churches, the Community Church and All Souls Church (New York).

The station also features a weekly program about piano entitled Reflections from the Keyboard, which is hosted by David Dubal. Dubal had previously been music director at WNCN (a defunct classical-music radio station in New York City), WQXR's competitor in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. Reflections from the Keyboard took a four year hiatus from new programs starting in August 2009. New programs returned to WQXR in June 2013. Some of the current WQXR announcers, as well as its program director, were previously employed at WNCN. WQXR's national programs include New York Philharmonic This Week hosted by Alec Baldwin, Exploring Music hosted by Bill McGlaughlin, Performance Today hosted by Fred Child, Pipedreams hosted by Michael Barone and From The Top hosted by Christopher O'Riley. David Garland hosts two shows on WQXR each week: Movies on the Radio, a show that has a different movie theme each week, and airs on Saturdays at 9PM; he also hosts Old School, a program that plays old time classical pieces. Bob Sherman hosts The McGraw Hill Financial Young Artist's Showcase, which displays the talents of young emerging artists airs Wednesday Nights at 9PM (9:05 PM during the New York Times ownership due to the Front Page of the New York Times report hosted by James Barron) The showcase has been airing continuously since 1978 and has exceeded 1,900 episodes as of August 2015.

New York Times 96.3 FM WQXR[edit]



New York Public Radio 105.9 FM WQXR[edit]


  • Annie Bergen
  • Paul Cavalconte
  • Clayelle Dalferes
  • Elliott Forrest
  • David Garland
  • Kevin Gordon (continued on WQXR in 2009 as the interim weekday afternoon announcer leading into the arrival of Naomi Lewin)
  • Nimet Habachy (retired April 2007, returned part-time, March 2010, in late-night programming)
  • Naomi Lewin (retired September 2015)
  • Terrence McKnight
  • Jeff Spurgeon
  • Steve Sullivan
  • Midge Woolsey (continued on WQXR from the switch in 2009 to her departure on January 31, 2013)


  • Program Director – Matt Abramovitz
  • Associate Producer, Q2 – Alex Ambrose
  • Executive Producer, Live & Special Events – Aaron Dalton
  • Producer – Eileen Delahunty
  • Online Producer – Kim Nowacki
  • President, NYPR – Laura Walker
  • Vice President/General Manager – Graham Parker
  • Director of Digital Content – Michael Rinzel
  • Online Editor – Brian Wise

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Perez-Pena, Richard; Wakin, Waniel J. (July 14, 2009). "Times Co. Agrees To Sell WQXR Radio". The New York Times. Retrieved July 31, 2009. 
  2. ^ a b Bensinger, Greg (July 14, 2009). "New York Times to Get $45 Million for Radio Station (Update3)". Bloomberg. Retrieved July 31, 2009. 
  3. ^ Earlytelevision.org.
  4. ^ "Plan National Programming For 36-Station FM Network". Billboard. Vol. 74, No. 23. June 9, 1962. Retrieved August 9, 2010 (via Google Books).
  5. ^ WQXR FAQ page, WQXR
  6. ^ "WQXR Expands its Reach into Westchester with New WQXW 90.3 FM". Retrieved 22 September 2013. 
  7. ^ "WQXR New York Q2 Music" Daily Playlists, Tuesday, September 30, 2014
  8. ^ "Announcers: WQXR". WQXR. Retrieved November 11, 2007. 
  9. ^ "New York Radio Guide". New York Radio Guide. Archived from the original on October 17, 2007. Retrieved November 11, 2007. 

Further reading[edit]

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