This just in: New York's WNYC, the country's largest public radio station, has just bought the classical music station WQXR from the New York Times, ending long speculation about the station's future.
The Times is getting a total of $33.5 million from Univision and $11.5 million from WNYC in a three-way deal that will involve the purchase of the station's call letters and website and its transfer from 96.3 FM to 105.9 FM. In the process, WQXR will become a public radio station (and lose some of its signal strength, therefore reaching a slightly smaller audience).
WNYC is also launching a $15 million fund-raising campaign to support the purchase and running of WQXR, co-chaired by the pianist Emanuel Ax, who likened this move to "saving Carnegie Hall from the wrecker's ball."
As a regular guest on WNYC's Soundcheck, I may be seen as compromised in writing about this event. But at a time when the recession is threatening classical radio stations, public radio, and newspapers alike, this is a nice happy-ending story about retaining a major station in one of the country's largest markets -- all the more so since WNYC, which came under heavy fire some years ago when it moved away from an all-classical format, now gets to play the role of heroic rescuer.
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