WNYC (93.9 FM and 820 AM) is a public radio station in New York City, New York. Broadcasting from lower Manhattan, it is the flagship station of National Public Radio in the region and carries a mixed news and varied music format on two radio frequencies. The station is known for its nationally-syndicated news and culture programming and its Internet radio broadcasts. WNYC reaches more than one million listeners each week and has the largest public radio audience in the United States. Its AM transmitter is located in Kearny, New Jersey ; its FM transmitter is located in New York City.
WNYC has a local news team of 18 journalists.
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.
On The Media is a weekly nationally-syndicated one-hour program hosted by Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield 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.
The Leonard Lopate Show is a two-hour weekday talk show hosted by Leonard Lopate, a painter who studied with Ad Reinhardt and Mark Rothko and the brother of writer Phillip Lopate. The show covers a broad range of topics including jazz and gospel music, literature, science and history.
Soundcheck is a one-hour weekday talk show hosted by John Schaefer about music and the arts. The show features interviews with musicians, critics, journalists, authors and others. It also features live musical performances in mix of genres, including indie rock, jazz, classical, and world music. The show also airs on XM Satellite Radio Channel 133.
WNYC broadcasts the major daily news programs produced by National Public Radio, including Morning Edition and All Things Considered, as well as the BBC World Service and selected programs from Public Radio International like This American Life and A Prairie Home Companion.
The station airs many long-running cultural and music programs, including Folksong Festival on Saturday nights that has survived battles with mayors and blacklists. Hosted by Oscar Brand, who debuted the show on December 10, 1945, and who was blacklisted in the McCarthy era, the show was one of the first radio programs in the United States to focus on issues of homosexuality and continues to shake up audiences with anti-American Revolution programs, "bad daddy" shows for Father's Day, "Evil Mothers" for Mother's Day, and more.
In 2006 the station began WNYC2, an all-classical music channel broadcast on HD Radio and the Internet. The station's AM and FM channels carry primarily news and information programming on weekdays but maintain different broadcast schedules. The FM signal broadcasts musical programming after 7 p.m. It eliminated much of its weekday classical music programming in 2001, following the advice of consultants and the example of many other public radio stations such as Philadelphia's WHYY.
Locally-produced programs include:
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. WNYC2 is a classical station that is delivered only via Internet and HD radio, 24 hours a day. WNYC also makes some of its programming available on satellite radio.
Funds for the establishment of WNYC were approved on June 2, 1922 by the New York City Board of Estimate and Apportionment. The AM station made its first official broadcast two years later on July 8, 1924. WNYC is one of the oldest radio stations in the United States. It first began broadcasting on 570 AM with a second-hand transmitter shipped from Brazil. The FM station began regularly scheduled broadcasts on March 13, 1943 at 43.9 FM. The call letters at the time were W39NY. In 1989 WNYC AM switched from 830 on the dial at 1,000 watts to 820 with 10,000 watts during daylight hours and 1,000 at night Both stations were established and owned by the City of New York until 1997, when they were bought by private citizens through the independent WNYC Foundation to continue the public radio mission of the stations.
WNYC radio personalities include Margaret Juntwait, an announcer and classical music host at WNYC for 15 years who left for the Metropolitan Opera in September 2006. She is now the announcer for the Met's Saturday Afternoon Radio Broadcasts and is only the third regular announcer of the long-standing broadcast series launched in 1931, and is also the first woman to hold the position. John Schaefer, a music show host at WNYC for 20 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.
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, Mayor Ed Koch tried to use WNYC to broadcast the names of "johns" arrested for soliciting. Announcers threatened a walkout and station management refused to comply with the idea; after one broadcast the idea was abandoned.
In 1995, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani split WNYC from its sister television station, and a risk arose that the radio stations would be sold off to corporate interests. In 1997 the station was saved by its sale to the nonprofit WNYC Foundation. This put an end to the occasional political intrusions of the past. The station's listenership and budget have continued to grow rapidly in recent years.
The new offices have ceilings and 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 for a capacity of up to 40 journalists. In the Municipal Building, the journalists were not in a centralized newsroom, but scattered over many offices throughout the building.
Renovation, construction, rent and operating costs for the new Varick Street location amounted to $45 million. In addition to raising these funds, WNYC has been raising 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.