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First air date  November 26, 1939
HAAT  416 meters
City of license  Newark
Owner  New York Public Radio
ERP  610 watts
Frequency  105.9 MHz
Format  Classical music
Branding  105.9 FM WQXR
WQXR-FM httpsmedia2wnycorgi400400c80photologue
Broadcast area  New York City metropolitan area
Translator(s)  See § Translators and relays
Repeater(s)  See § Translators and relays
Area  New York metropolitan area
Slogan  New York's Classical Music Station

Hindemith clarinet strings mike getzin interview concert wqxr fm 1974

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.


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. 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. Within that next week WCAA, now on 96.3, changed its call letters to WXNY-FM.

Translators and relays

WQXR once used a translator in Asbury Park, New Jersey that transmitted its programming at 96.7 FM, however the owners of the translator sold it and the new owners moved it out of Asbury Park, forcing WQXR to no longer broadcast in the area on that frequency.

WQXR gained former stand-alone station WDFH as a repeater on July 29, 2013, changing its call-letters to the current WQXW.

Full-powered simulcasts



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.

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"

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.

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.

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

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, music library and website. 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

WQXR-FM has less range and population coverage on 105.9 than it had with its old signal on 96.3. WQXR-FM's old and new signals both radiate from the same FM master antenna atop the Empire State Building; but while WQXR-FM'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 610 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 MHz. 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.

WQXR operates a translator station: 103.7 in Highland, New York. It once formerly had 96.7 in Asbury Park, New Jersey until an unknown owner of the frequency sold it and the new owner moved it out of Asbury Park, forcing WQXR to no longer broadcast at that frequency. WQXR's audio is carried over WNYC-FM's HD2 channel at 93.9 FM, and over Time Warner Cable television channel 590 in the Hudson Valley, New York. 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.

Worldwide, WQXR-FM'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.


WQXR-FM Wikipedia