The cash-strapped New York Times Company has sold WQXR-FM, its famously toney classical music station, to WNYC Radio and Univision. The Times Company gets $45 million in the deal. WNYC is kicking in $11.5 million, with $33.5 coming from Univision, which will put WQXR on its 105.9 FM signal and go to 96.3 FM.
The Times says the station’s new ownership “could alter its character,” which at first had us wondering if it would now pump righteous classic rock, only with that Brit-sounding guy announcing “The best in righteous classic rock” between righteous rock blocks, but the paper apparently means the station is going public-radio and will have a weaker signal. The new WQXR is expected to keep its Sunday Met broadcasts and other classical staples, but lose access to about four and a half million listeners in Connecticut and Jersey due to the decreased reach of the new transmitter. And it will have to grapple for funding as a “listener-supported station.” Since everything in this town is inevitably getting worse, we suspect this means WQXR will eventually go talk-radio, with its lunatics shouting in cultivated accents as a sop to its legacy.