WNYC is the trademark, and a set of call letters shared by a pair of
non-profit, noncommercial, public radio stations located in New York
City and owned by New York Public Radio, a nonprofit organization that
did business as
WNYC RADIO until March 2013.
WNYC (AM) broadcasts on 820 kHz, and
WNYC-FM broadcasts on
93.9 MHz. Both stations are members of
NPR and carry local and
national news/talk programs. Some hours the programming is simulcast,
some hours different shows air on each station.
WNYC reaches more than
one million listeners each week and has the largest public radio
audience in the United States.
WNYC stations are co-owned with Newark, New Jersey-licensed
classical music outlet
WQXR-FM (105.9 MHz), and all three
broadcast from studios and offices at 160
Varick Street in the Tribeca
neighborhood of Manhattan. WNYC's AM transmitter is located in Kearny,
New Jersey; WNYC-FM's transmitter is located on the Empire State
Building in New York City.
1.1 Early years
1.2 Great Depression and World War II
1.3 Independence from the City
1.4 Move to new studios
1.5 Acquisition of WQXR
1.6 New Jersey expansion
1.7 Past personalities
4 Listenership and new media
5 See also
7 External links
Fiorello H. La Guardia
Fiorello H. La Guardia on his
Talk to the People program on WNYC
WNYC is one of the oldest radio stations in New York. Funds for the
establishment of the station were approved on June 2, 1922 by the New
York City Board of Estimate and Apportionment.
WNYC made its first
official broadcast two years later on July 8, 1924, at 570 AM with a
second-hand transmitter shipped from Brazil. With the commencement of
WNYC's operations, the City of New York became one of the first
American municipalities to be directly involved in broadcasting.
Studios and transmitter were at The Municipal Building, 1 Centre
WNYC was forced into a time-sharing arrangement on 570 AM with
WMCA, another pioneering New York radio outlet. This situation lasted
until 1931, when the
Federal Radio Commission (a forerunner to today's
WNYC to 810 AM. The frequency move did not help
an operational standpoint as it now had to share its frequency with
the more-powerful WCCO in Minneapolis, limiting
WNYC to daytime-only
operations, broadcasting from sunrise to sunset. (AM radio waves
travel farther at night and
WNYC had to protect WCCO from
WNYC is also known for having an extensive online
archive of broadcasts and recordings.
Great Depression and World War II
WNYC's transmitter was moved in 1937 from the top of the Municipal
Building to City-owned land at 10 Kent Street in Greenpoint, Brooklyn,
as part of a
Works Progress Administration
Works Progress Administration project. The site was later
WNYC Transmitter Park. In 1938 the Municipal
Broadcasting System was established by the City of New York to run the
station. For its first 14 years,
WNYC had been run by the New York
City Commissioner for Bridges, Plant and Structures. Now, under an
agency devoted singularly to its function and with the leadership of
new director Morris S. Novik, appointed by Mayor LaGuardia, WNYC
became a model public broadcaster. Among its many landmark programs
was the annual American Music Festival.
In 1941 the
North American Regional Broadcasting Agreement
North American Regional Broadcasting Agreement shifted
WNYC's dial position a second time, to 830 kHz. WCCO was moved to
830 as well, and was given clear-channel authority.
WNYC would remain
a 1,000-watt outlet for the next 48 years. Later that year, on
WNYC was the first radio station in the United States to
announce the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. During World War II, the
WNYC to stay on the air a few extra hours in the evening
due to the public service it was providing.
WNYC began regularly scheduled broadcasts on the FM band on March 13,
1943 at 43.9 MHz. Known originally as W39NY, the FM outlet adopted its
present WNYC-FM' identity and its present frequency of 93.9 MHz
within a few years. In 1961 the pair were joined by a television
operation, as WUHF (channel 31) took to the air in an experimental
format. The following year the station was renamed WNYC-TV.
The Municipal Broadcasting System (which was renamed the WNYC
Communications Group in 1989) helped to form
National Public Radio
National Public Radio in
1971, and the
WNYC stations were among the 90 stations that carried
the inaugural broadcast of
All Things Considered
All Things Considered later that year.
In 1979, several Tri-State residents formed the
WNYC Foundation as the
stations' fundraising arm.
WNYC (AM) moved from 830 kHz to 820 kHz, commenced
around-the-clock operations, and increased its daytime power to 10,000
watts while maintaining 1,000 watts at night, to protect WBAP in Fort
Worth, Texas; WBAP is also a clear-channel 50,000 watt station but
much farther from
New York City
New York City than Minneapolis. The Brooklyn
transmitter site was decommissioned, and the AM transmitter was moved
to Belleville Turnpike in Kearny, New Jersey, sharing three towers
with WMCA, its former shared-time partner.
The station's ownership by the City meant that it was occasionally
subject to the whims of various mayors. As part of a crackdown on
prostitution in 1979, then-Mayor
Ed Koch tried to use
broadcast the names of "johns" and "janes" arrested for soliciting.
Announcers threatened a walkout and station management refused to
comply with the idea; after one broadcast the idea was abandoned. See
Independence from the City
Shortly after assuming the mayoralty in 1994, Rudolph W. Giuliani
announced he was considering selling the
WNYC stations. Giuliani
believed that broadcasting was no longer essential as a municipal
service, and that the financial compensation from selling the stations
could be used to help the City cover budget shortfalls. The final
decision was made in March 1995: while the City opted to divest
WNYC-TV (now WPXN-TV) through a blind auction to commercial buyers,
WNYC-AM-FM was sold to the
WNYC Foundation for $20 million over a
six-year period, far less than what the stations could have been sold
for if they were placed on the open market. While the sale put an
end to the occasional political intrusions of the past, it required
WNYC Foundation to embark on a major appeal towards listeners,
other foundations, and private benefactors. The station's audience and
budget have continued to grow since the split from the City.
Manhattan Municipal Building, WNYC's home from 1922 to 2008
The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 destroyed WNYC-FM's
transmitter atop the World Trade Center. WNYC-AM-FM's studios, in the
Manhattan Municipal Building, had to be evacuated and station
staff was unable to return to its offices for three weeks. The FM
signal was knocked off the air for a time.
WNYC temporarily moved to
studios at National Public Radio's New York bureau in midtown
Manhattan, where it broadcast on its still operating AM signal
transmitting from towers in
Kearny, New Jersey
Kearny, New Jersey and by a live Internet
stream. The stations eventually returned to the Municipal Building.
Move to new studios
On June 16, 2008
WNYC moved from its 51,400 square feet
(4,780 m2) of rent-free space scattered on eight floors of the
Manhattan Municipal Building to a new location at 160 Varick Street,
near the Holland Tunnel. The station now occupies three and a half
floors of a 12-story former printing building in Hudson Square.
The new offices have 12-foot (4 m) ceilings and 71,900 square
feet (6,680 m2) of space. The number of recording studios and
booths has doubled, to 31. There is a new 140-seat, street-level
studio for live broadcasts, concerts and public forums and an
expansion of the newsroom of over 60 journalists.
Renovation, construction, rent and operating costs for the new Varick
Street location amounted to $45 million. In addition to raising these
WNYC raised money for a one-time fund of $12.5 million to cover
the cost of creating 40 more hours of new programming and three new
shows. The total cost of $57.5 million for both the move and
programming is nearly three times the $20 million the station had to
raise over seven years to buy its licenses from the City in 1997.
Acquisition of WQXR
On October 8, 2009
WNYC took control of classical music station
WQXR-FM, then at 96.3 FM. WQXR's intellectual property (call letters
and format) was acquired from the
New York Times Company
New York Times Company as part of a
three-way transaction with Univision Radio.
WNYC also purchased the
105.9 FM frequency of Univision's WCAA (now WXNY-FM). WQXR-FM's
classical format moved to 105.9 and WXNY's Spanish Tropical format
debuted at 96.3. The deal resulted in WQXR becoming a non-commercial
station. With WQXR as a co-owned 24-hour classical station, WNYC-FM
dropped its remaining classical music programming to become a
full-time news/talk station.
New Jersey expansion
On June 6, 2011, the New Jersey Public Broadcasting Authority agreed
to sell four FM stations in northern New Jersey to New York Public
Radio. The transaction was announced by Governor Chris Christie, as
part of his long-term goal to end State-subsidized public
broadcasting. The four stations were previously the northern half of
New Jersey Network's statewide radio service, with the stations in
southern New Jersey going to
Philadelphia public radio station
WHYY-FM. Upon taking control of the four stations on July 1, 2011,
they were rebranded as New Jersey Public Radio.
WNYC radio personalities include H. V. Kaltenborn, who hosted
radio's first quiz program on
WNYC in 1926, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle's
Current Events Bee, a forerunner to shows like National Public Radio's
Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!
Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! In its early years the station lacked
funds for a record library and would borrow albums from record stores
Manhattan Municipal Building, where its studios were
located. Legend has it, a listener began lending classical records to
the station and in 1929,
WNYC began broadcast of Masterwork Hour,
radio's first program of recorded classical music.
Following the U.S. entry into World War II, then-Mayor Fiorello H. La
Guardia made use of the station every Sunday in his
Talk to the People
program. During a lengthy newspaper workers strike, La Guardia also
WNYC airwaves to read the latest comic strips to local
youngsters while they were not available in New York.
Margaret Juntwait, an announcer and classical music host at
15 years, left for the
Metropolitan Opera in September 2006. Prior to
her death in 2015, Juntwait served as announcer for the Met's Saturday
afternoon radio broadcasts, the first woman to hold the position and
only the third regular announcer of the long-standing broadcast
series, which was launched in 1931. John Schaefer, a music show host
WNYC for 35 years, has written liner notes for more than 100
albums, for everyone from
Yo-Yo Ma to
Terry Riley and was named a "New
York influential" by New York Magazine in 2006.
WNYC produces 100 hours a week of its own programming, including
nationally syndicated shows such as Studio 360, On the Media, Selected
Shorts and Radiolab, as well as local news and interview shows that
Leonard Lopate Show, Soundcheck and The
Brian Lehrer Show.
The entire schedule is streamed live over the internet and several
shows also air over Sirius and XM Satellite Radio. As a result, the
station receives listener calls from far-flung states and even has
WNYC-AM-FM has a local news team of 18 journalists, as well as dozens
of producers and other broadcasting professionals.
Studio 360 is a weekly one-hour program about arts and culture hosted
by Kurt Andersen, the former editor of Spy Magazine. Taking current
issues and trends as jumping-off points, the show explores a broad
range of cultural ideas. Each program begins with a topical section of
stories about the arts and culture from around the United States and
around the world. It won a
Peabody Award in 2004 for its episode
American Icons: Melville's Moby-Dick.
On the Media is a nationally syndicated, weekly one-hour program
Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield, formerly of Advertising
Age, covering the media and its effect on American culture and
society. Many stories investigate how events of the past week were
covered by the press. Stories also regularly cover such topics as
video news releases, net neutrality, media consolidation, censorship,
freedom of the press, spin, and how the media is changing with
technology. It won a
Peabody Award in 2004.
Brian Lehrer Show is a two-hour weekday talk show covering local
and national current events and social issues hosted by Brian Lehrer,
a former anchor and reporter for NBC Radio Network. It won a Peabody
Award in 2007 "for facilitating reasoned conversation about critical
issues and opening it up to everyone within earshot."
Midday on WNYC, formerly known as The
Leonard Lopate Show, originally
"New York & Company," is a two-hour weekday talk show with
rotating hosts. Originally hosted by Leonard Lopate, who studied with
Ad Reinhardt and
Mark Rothko and the brother of writer Phillip Lopate,
Lopate was fired on December 21, 2017. The renamed show still covers a
broad range of topics including current events, literature, theater,
science and history.
The Leonard Lopate Show
The Leonard Lopate Show won a Peabody
Award in 2012 "for considering all things New York in lively
broadcasts that, like the host, value light more than heat."
Soundcheck is a one-hour weekday talk and music show hosted by John
Schaefer. The program looks at music and the arts, featuring
interviews with musicians, critics, journalists, authors and others.
It sometimes has live musical performances in mix of genres, including
indie rock, jazz, classical, and world music.
Folksong Festival has been airing on WNYC-AM on Saturday nights for
seven decades. It is hosted by Oscar Brand, who debuted the show on
December 10, 1945, and who was blacklisted in the McCarthy era.
Folksong Festival is the longest-running radio show with the same
host, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. It ceased
making new episodes in April, 2010, and is currently reairing archived
episodes. Brand died on September 30, 2016 at age 96.
WNYC broadcasts the major daily news programs produced by NPR,
Morning Edition and All Things Considered, as well as the
BBC World Service
BBC World Service and selected programs from Public Radio
This American Life
This American Life and A Prairie Home
In 2006 the station began wnyc2 (lower case letters), an all-classical
music channel broadcast on
HD Radio and on the Internet. The slogan
is, "Five hundred years of new music", and most of the playlist comes
from the 20th and 21st centuries. This channel became part of WQXR as
Q2 when WNYC's parent company acquired WQXR.
WNYC launched The Jonathan Channel, a 24-hour streaming
Internet radio station programmed by Jonathan Schwartz and dedicated
to popular standards from the "Great American Song Book." The channel
also features live programming hosted by Schwartz, including a
simulcast of his Sunday
Other locally produced programs include:
The Jonathan Schwartz Show – airing Saturday nights and Sunday
afternoons on WNYC-FM, featuring American Popular Standards, including
Barbra Streisand and Nat "King" Cole, as well as
Schwartz's unique insights.
New Sounds – guest musicians, from David Byrne to Meredith Monk,
present performances and showcase new works from classical to folk and
Radiolab – each episode is a patchwork of people, sounds, stories
and experiences centered around one idea.
Radio Rookies – provides teenagers with the tools and training to
create radio stories about themselves, their communities and their
world. It won a
Peabody Award in 2005.
Selected Shorts – actors read contemporary and classic short fiction
before a live audience. Works range from Chekhov, Maupassant, Malamud,
and Singer, to Jhumpa Lahiri and Jonathan Franzen.
Fishko Files – Sara Fishko with sound-rich essays on art, culture,
music and media, past and present.
Spinning On Air – specializes in unusual, uncategorizeable music,
with an emphasis on in-studio performances.
The Takeaway – a weekday one-hour show, hosted by Todd Zwillich,
co-produced with Public Radio International.
Death, Sex & Money – Anna Sale talks to celebrities and regular
people about relationships, money, family, work and making it all
This section is missing information about the detailed financial
development. Please expand the section to include this information.
Further details may exist on the talk page. (February 2016)
WNYC reported a total revenue of $68,712,094 for the tax year ending
June 30, 2014, in their IRS
Form 990 filing in 2015.
Listenership and new media
WNYC has been an early adopter of new technologies including HD radio,
live audio streaming, and podcasting.
RSS feeds and email newsletters
link to archived audio of individual program segments.
WNYC also makes
some of its programming available on
Sirius XM satellite radio.
WPXN-TV (channel 31, formerly WNYC-TV)
Media in New York City
^ IRS 2014
Form 990 Income Tax Statement
^ a b "WNYC-AM". New York Radio Guide.
^ "Transmitter information for
WNYC 93.9 FM". Radio Locator.
^ "Archives and Preservation WNYC". WNYC. Retrieved
^ "Going Public: The Story of WNYC's Journey to Independence". issuu.
December 19, 2013. Retrieved July 18, 2017.
^ "Opinion: Don't sell out WNYC." The New York Times, February 28,
1994. Retrieved January 12, 2013.
^ Myers, Steven Lee (March 22, 1995). "New York, signing off, to sell
its radio and TV stations". The New York Times. Retrieved January 12,
^ Collins, Glenn (July 17, 2006). "WNYC's Planned Move Will Finish Its
Breakup With the City". The New York Times. Retrieved April 6,
^ Perez-Pena, Richard (July 17, 2009). "Times Co. agrees to sell WQXR
Radio". The New York Times. Retrieved July 1, 2011.
^ NJN Press release (via WMGM-TV): "Gov. Christie Selects WNET for NJN
Takeover", June 6, 2011. Archived June 10, 2011, at the Wayback
^ "The Influentials: Classical and Dance". New York. May 15,
^ 64th Annual Peabody Awards, May 2005.
^ 64th Annual Peabody Awards, May 2005.
^ 67th Annual Peabody Awards, May 2008.
^ "Midday on
WNYC WNYC". WNYC. Retrieved 2018-01-02.
^ "WNYC's Leonard Lopate, Jonathan Schwartz Fired Over Conduct
Allegations". 2017-12-21. Retrieved 2018-01-02.
^ 72nd Annual Peabody Awards, May 2013.
^ "Longest running weekly radio programme – same host". Guinness
World Records. Retrieved 12 October 2015.
^ 65th Annual Peabody Awards, May 2006.
^ Nocera, Joe (May 3, 2008). "An Upstart Up Against a Jewel". The New
York Times. Retrieved April 6, 2010.
WNYC 2013 Income Tax Returns
New York Public radio website
Broadcast Schedule (New York Public Radio)
WNYC historical profile (1978) at NY Radio News
Public Radio Fan, radio stations list
Porter Anderson announces Challenge Grant for WQXR's Q2 Music(2011) by
Query the FCC's AM station database for WNYC
Radio-Locator Information on WNYC
Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for WNYC
Query the FCC's FM station database for WNYC
Radio-Locator information on WNYC
Query Nielsen Audio's FM station database for WNYC
Radio stations in the Metropolitan New York market
By AM frequency
Westchester County, New York
By FM frequency
90.3 (New York) 90.3 (Brooklyn)
Long Island, New York
Westchester County, New York
Via FM subcarrier
Chinese Radio New York
Gatewave radio reading service
Radio Maria Stati Uniti (Italian)
Chung Wah Chinese Broadcasting Company
Radio Maria Estados Unidos (Spanish)
NOAA Weather Radio
by frequency & subchannel
WJY (Hoboken, New Jersey)
WJY (New York)
NYC Metro Markets
Other nearby radio markets
List of radio stations in New York
1 = Clear-channel stations with extended nighttime coverage. 2 = Part
15 station with notability. 3 = Stations share time on the frequency.
4 = Transmits from atop the Empire State Building.
NPR member stations in the state of New York
Mount Kisco WWES
Blue Mountain Lake WXLH
Cape Vincent WSLZ
North Creek WXLG
Saranac Lake WSLL
Tupper Lake WXLS
Rochester WXXI (AM)
New York City
New York City WFUV
New York City
New York City WNYC
New York City
New York City WNYC-FM
Schuyler Falls WOXR
See also List of
other radio st