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Re: FW: Oops 7/4...and WRKO!

On Sat, 12 Jul 1997, Dan Strassberg wrote:

> Also, I believe it was 1936 when WQXR signed on as W2XR (in the
> expanded-band of its day--one of the three "experimental" high-fidelity
> channels--1530, 1550, and 1570). W2XR might have become WQXR in 1939, but I
> was under the impression that the stations on the high-fidelity channels
> retained their experimental status until NARBA on 3/29/41. Anyhow, it is
> also my impression that the classical format began when W2XR signed on.

I have in front of me a book called =Rebel in Radio: The Story of WQXR= by
Elliot M. Sanger, one of the founders of WQXR.  He reports that W2XR was
an experimental station run by John Hogan, a radio engineer, who played
classical records on the station simply because he liked that kind of
music.  It doesn't say how long W2XR had been around, but in the fall of
1935, over dinner, Sanger and Hogan discussed making W2XR into a
self-supporting commercial station.  In February 1936, they formed
Interstate Broadcasting Company, and agreed to petition the FCC to
transfer W2XR to the corporation and increase its power from 250 watts to
1000 watts.    The actual broadcasting was done from Hogan's laboratory in
Long Island City, above his garage.  The commercial license was received
in December 1936, with the call WQXR.
> Given that, when WQEW was created in 1992, WQXR essentially moved from AM to
> FM after decades of simulcasting, and that, even now, WQEW is owned by the
> same company that started WQXR and its predecessor W2XR, I think WQXR's
> classical format certainly belongs in the competition for "oldest format in
> continuous existence."

WQXR/WQEW are not owned by the same company that started WQXR/W2XR.  It
was Hogan who started W2XR and his and Sanger's company that started WQXR.
They sold the station (and, by then, FM station WQXQ) to the New York
Times in 1944 and continued to operate the station under the Times

However, the continuity of classical programming over what is now WQXR is
probably enough to qualify it as the longest-running format.  This book
relates that on 18 July 1939, Major Armstrong presented the first
regularly scheduled FM program with music which originated from WQXR to
Armstrong's station, W2XMN.  WQXR's own FM station went on the air as
W2XQR in November 1939 as New York City's first FM station.

So far as I can tell right now, the book does not chronicle the changes in
the FM calls to WQXQ and WQXR-FM.  Since it was published in 1973, it does
not, of course, detail the change of the AM station into WQEW.

  A. Joseph Ross, J.D.                                          617.367.0468
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