Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

The New York Times Gets Out of the Radio Business, Collects $45 Million

new-york-times-building-300x200The New York Times (NYT) is getting out of the radio business. Did you know the New York Times was in the radio business? Exactly.

Anyway, now it’s not. The cash-strapped publisher has sold WQXR-FM for $45 million, carving up the asset into two packages for different buyers–local NPR affiliate WNYC and Spanish-language broadcaster Univision Radio, a unit of Univision Communications.

The money will be used to chip away at the paper’s $1 billion debt (the terms of the $250 million loan it took out from billionaire Carlos Slim pretty much require that the paper do that whenever it sells off anything significant). It’s not much, but it may end being more than the paper gets for the Boston Globe, which it bought for $1.1 billion in 1993.

The Times has owned the station since 1944; it sold off its AM sibling to Disney (DIS) in 2006.

The deal involves a swap of licenses and equipment between multiple stations, but that won’t be of interest to you unless you listen to classical music or Spanish-language programming on New York City radio stations. If you do, the details are in the release.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald