New York Times sells classical music radio station

NEW YORK - The New York Times Company is to sell its WQXR classical music radio station in New York in a two part deal valued at $45m in an effort to reduce its debt.

The New York Times company will sell the 96.3 FM slot that it uses to broadcast WQXR to Spanish-language broadcaster Univision Radio, which will pay $33.5m for the privilege.

The NY Times will then in turn get the 105.9 FM slot from Univision, which will become the new home for the 73-year-old classical broadcaster. The media firm will then sell the 105.9 license, its transmitting equipment and the WQXR call letters to WNYC Radio for $11.5m.

The deal is expected to be completed in the second half of the year and needs to be approved by the Federal Communications Commission.

WQXR began life in 1936 on AM radio as the first classical music station in the US before moving to FM in 1939. The New York Times bought the station in 1944 and sold the AM licence to Radio Disney in 2006.

The sale comes as The New York Times looks to sell a number of its assets to reduce its debts and shore up the position of its flagship New York Times.

Chief among those assets is the Boston Globe and its 17.75% percent stake in New England Sports Venture, which owns the Boston Red Sox baseball team and the club's Fenway Park ball park.

Last week, The New York Times Co extended the deadline for bids for the Boston Globe newspaper until late July.

"Prospective buyers were not prepared to make bids on the quick timetable originally set by the company and asked for more time," the New York Times said.

Bidders are waiting for the July 20 vote by the Boston Newspaper Guild to see if the union will accept concessions in pay and benefits totalling $10m.

Buyers for the Boston Globe include prominent Boston businessmen Stephen Pagliuca, private equity executive and Celtics co-owner, and Jack Connors, Hill Holliday co-founder, who have joined forces for a possible bid.

The New York Times Co has also said it plans to offer the buyer of the Boston Globe, which is set to lose $85m this year, another Massachusetts paper, the Worcester Telegram and Gazette, as part of the deal.