The media of New York City are internationally influential, and include some of the most important newspapers, largest publishing houses, most prolific television studios, and biggest record companies in the world. It is a major global center for the television, music, newspaper, book and magazine publishing industries.
New York is also the largest media market in North America (followed by Los Angeles, Chicago, and Toronto). Some of the city's media conglomerates include Time Warner, the News Corporation, the Hearst Corporation, and Viacom. Seven of the world's top eight global advertising agency networks are headquartered in New York. Three of the "Big Four" record labels are also based in the city, as well as in Los Angeles. One-third of all American independent films are produced in New York. More than 200 newspapers and 350 consumer magazines have an office in the city and book-publishing industry employs about 25,000 people.
Two of the three national daily newspapers in the United States are The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. Major tabloid newspapers in the city include The New York Daily News and The New York Post, founded in 1801 by Alexander Hamilton. The city also has a major ethnic press, with 270 newspapers and magazines published in more than 40 languages. El Diario La Prensa is New York's largest Spanish-language daily and the oldest in the nation. The New York Amsterdam News, published in Harlem, is a prominent African-American newspaper. The Village Voice is the largest alternative newspaper.
The television industry developed in New York and is a significant employer in the city's economy. The four major American broadcast networks, ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC, are all headquartered in New York. Many cable channels are based in the city as well, including MTV, Fox News, HBO and Comedy Central. In 2005 there were more than 100 television shows taped in New York City.
New York is also a major center for non-commercial media. The oldest public-access television channel in the United States is the Manhattan Neighborhood Network, founded in 1971. WNET is the city's major public television station and a primary provider of national PBS programming. WNYC, a public radio station owned by the city until 1997, has the largest public radio audience in the United States. The City of New York operates a public broadcast service, nyctv, that produces several original New York Emmy Award-winning shows covering music and culture in city neighborhoods, as well as city government.
New York City is home to 4 of the 10 largest papers in the United States. These include The New York Times (circulation 1.1 million), The New York Daily News (circulation 795,000), and The New York Post (circulation 650,000). The Wall Street Journal (circulation 2.1 million), published in New York City, is a national-scope business newspaper and the first or second most-read newspaper in the nation, depending on measurement method.
El Diario La Prensa (circulation 265,000) is New York's largest Spanish-language daily and the oldest in the nation. There are also several borough-specific newspapers, such as The Brooklyn Daily Eagle and The Staten Island Advance. Free dailies mainly distributed to commuters include amNewYork, Hoy and Metro.
The city's ethnic press is large and diverse. Major ethnic publications include the Brooklyn-Queens Catholic paper The Tablet and Jewish-American newspaper The Forward (פֿאָרװערטס; Forverts), published in Yiddish and English, and the African-American newspaper The New York Amsterdam News. The Epoch Times, an international newspaper published by the Falun Gong, has English and Chinese editions in New York. There are seven dailies published in Chinese and four in Spanish. Multiple daily papers are published in Greek, Polish, and Korean, and weekly newspapers serve dozens of different ethnic communities, with ten separate newspapers focusing on the African-American community alone. Many nationally-distributed ethnic newspapers are based out of offices in Astoria, Chinatown or Brooklyn. Over 60 ethnic groups, writing in 42 languages, publish some 300 non-English language magazines and newspapers in New York City.
Ethnic variation is not the only measure of the diversity of New York City's newspapers, with editorial opinions running from left-leaning at alternative papers like the Village Voice, libertarian at the New York Press, and conservative at the recently-defunct daily New York Sun. The Onion is a satirical weekly newspaper available nationwide and published from offices in Lower Manhattan. New York Observer covers politics and the city's rich and powerful with unusual depth. The tradition of a free press owes much to John Peter Zenger, a New York publisher who was acquitted in his 1735 landmark court case, setting the precedent that truth was a legitimate defense against accusations of libel.
Major newspapers emphasizing coverage of the New York metropolitan region outside the city include Newsday, which covers primarily Long Island but also New York City, and the The Bergen Record and The Star-Ledger, which cover northern New Jersey.
The city has a long history in American magazine publishing. The 19th Century was rife with popular titles: Harper's Weekly launched in 1857 claiming to be "A Journal of Civilization" to readers; St. Nicholas Magazine, a pioneering children's publication; and Collier's Weekly, which counted Upton Sinclair and Ernest Hemingway as contributors. New York Magazine, founded in 1968 by Milton Glaser and Clay Felker, was one of the first "lifestyle" magazines. The New Yorker, founded in 1925 by Harold Ross, is a weekly magazine of arts, literature, and journalism.
Today more than 350 magazines have their editorial offices based in the city. New York is home to the corporate headquarters of publishing giants:
The book publishing industry in the United States is based in New York. Publishing houses in the city range from industry giants such as Penguin Group (USA), HarperCollins, Random House, Scholastic and Simon & Schuster to small niche houses like Soft Skull Press and Lee & Low Books. New York has also been the setting for countless works of literature, many of them produced by the city’s large population of writers (which have included Paul Auster, Don DeLillo, Jonathan Safran Foer, Jonathan Franzen, Jhumpa Lahiri, Jonathan Lethem, John O'Hara, Dorothy Parker, Thomas Pynchon, Susan Sontag, and many others). The New York City metro area, home to the largest number of Jews outside Israel, has also been a flourishing scene for Jewish American literature.
New York is also home to PEN American Center, the largest of the 141 centers of International PEN, the world’s oldest human rights organization and the oldest international literary organization. PEN American Center plays an important role in New York's literary community and is active in defending free speech, the promotion of literature, and the fostering of international literary fellowship. Author Salman Rushdie is its current president.
Some of the most important literary journals in the United States are in New York. These include The Paris Review, The New York Review of Books, n+1, and New York Quarterly. Other New York literary publications include Circumference, Open City, The Manhattan Review, Fence, and Telos. New York is also home to the US offices of Granta.
New York City has a tradition as an important place in radio broadcasting. Edward R. Murrow defined American broadcast journalism with his World War II reporting from Europe relayed back to CBS in New York and onward to the rest of the nation.
WNYC, New York's flagship public radio station, is the most-listened to commercial or non-commercial radio station in Manhattan and has the largest audience of any public radio station in the United States. It produces several news and cultural programs for national syndication.
WQXR-FM, New York City's only classical radio station, is now a public radio station as of November 1, 2009. It was formerly owned by the New York Times. It is located at 105.9 on the FM dial (it was previously located at 96.3 on the FM dial)
WFMU, along with KCRW in Los Angeles, is considered by music industry insiders to be one of the most influential open-format indie radio stations in the country. WBAI in Manhattan, with news and information programming, is one of the few socialist radio stations operating in the United States. Fordham University's WFUV and Columbia University's radio station, WKCR, are also important non-commercial stations in the city.
The first New York City radio station to feature a phone-in talk format was WNBC in the late 1960s, (with Long John Nebel in the early morning hours) but the format began in earnest in New York in 1970, when WMCA radio dropped its "Good Guys" top-40 radio format in favor of the "Dial-Log Radio" slate of call-in shows. In addition to mainstay Barry Gray, the format featured such prominent talkers as Nebel, Alex Bennett and Bob Grant.
Right-wing talk radio came to New York when WABC switched from an all music format to talk in 1982. Though it began with a moribund "Talkradio" format delivered via satellite from KABC Los Angeles, the station eventually became the home of nationally syndicated conservative powerhouse Rush Limbaugh, who in the Reagan years railed against liberal figures like civil-rights advocate Jesse Jackson and former New York Governor Mario Cuomo. Other high-profile conservative talk radio hosts with national profiles include Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity at WABC.
Liberals have responded, first with the short-lived (only five years) WEVD format with Bill Mazer's Mazer in the morning and Sam Greenfield in the afternoon followed by Alan Colmes from 11 PM to 2AM. Then in 2004 the Air America Radio network started, based in New York City, with actor-comedians Al Franken and Janeane Garofalo as their front line stars. Sam Greenfield has since joined the New York affiliate of Air America's morning lineup. A personality who goes by one name, "Lionel", was a host on WABC and has also joined the Air America's New York local lineup. Air American's flagship station was originally WLIB. It switched format to gospel beginning in 2006. Air America has since moved to WWRL.
New York is also home to several famous "shock jock" morning drive shows. They include the new current flavor Opie and Anthony as well as old timer Don Imus, (famous for his controversial statements, interviews of politicos and morning satire) and Elvis Duran and the Morning Show on Z-100. The nation's first female shock jock, Wendy Williams, has a popular syndicated afternoon show on Urban AC WBLS. WXRK, formerly known as 92.3 "K-Rock", used to be the home of Howard Stern until his move from terrestrial radio to Sirius Satellite Radio.
WQHT, also known as "Hot 97", is an influential high-profile commercial radio station that is arguably the nation's premier hip-hop station. Doctor Dre and Ed Lover were morning hosts at the station in the 1990s. The highest-rated Spanish language radio show in the United States is the morning radio program El Vacilón de la Mañana, broadcast on WSKQ and hosted by Luis Jimenez.
New York became home to America's first 24 hour sports talk station, WFAN, in 1987.
Roughly 100,000 New Yorkers are employed in the film and television industry, which contributes about $5 billion to the city's economy annually. New York City is the home of the three traditional major American television networks, ABC, CBS and NBC. They each have local broadcast owned and operated station. FOX owns and operates WNYW (5) and WWOR (9). In addition there s Board of Education station WNYE. Plus there are the two Hispanic language stations on UHF chnanels 41 and 47 which are the New York area affiliates of Univision and NBC owned Telemundo respectively.
It is also the headquarters of several large cable television channels, including MTV, Fox News, HBO, and Comedy Central. Silvercup Studios was the production facility for the popular television shows Sex and the City and The Sopranos. MTV broadcasts programming from its sound stage overlooking Times Square, several blocks away from the theater housing The Late Show with David Letterman. Saturday Night Live is broadcast from NBC's studios at Rockefeller Center, where Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, NBC Nightly News and The Today Show is also taped. BET is headquartered on 57th Street. The Colbert Report is produced by Comedy Central on 54th Street, and The Daily Show, also produced by Comedy Central, is taped just a few blocks over on 11th avenue and 53rd street. Over a thousand people are involved with producing the various Law & Order television series. In 2005 there were more than 100 new and returning television shows taped in New York City, according to the Mayor's Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting.
WNET, New York's largest public television station, is a primary national provider of PBS programming. The oldest public access channel in the United States is the Manhattan Neighborhood Network, well known for its eclectic local programming that ranges from a jazz hour to discussion of labor issues to foreign language and religious programming. There are eight other public access channels in New York, including Brooklyn Cable Access Television. As part of use of local rights-of-way, the cable operators in New York have granted access to PEG cable channels for public access, educational and government programming. They also carry the New York State legislative channel available on cable packages with sufficient bandwidth.
Another notable channel in the city is NY1, Time Warner Cable's first local news channel, known for its beat coverage of outerborough neighborhoods. Its coverage of City Hall and state politics is closely watched by political insiders.
Finally, the City University of New York's cable channel provides on air telecourses in psychology, physics, geography, history as well as vast array of cultural programing on CUNY TV, while New York University (NYU) has its NYUTV.
The City of New York operates a public broadcast service, NYCTV,(on WNYE Channel 25) that produces several original Emmy Award-winning shows including Blue Print New York and Cool in Your Code, as well as coverage of city government. Other popular programs on NYCTV include music shows; New York Noise showcases music videos of local, underground, and indie rock musicians as well as coverage of major music-related events in the city like the WFMU Record Fair, interviews of New York icons (like The Ramones and Klaus Nomi), and comedian hosts (like Eugene Mirman, Rob Huebel, and Aziz Ansari). The Bridge, similarly, chronicles old school hip hop. The channel has won 14 New York Emmys and 14 National Telly awards.
New York's film industry is much smaller than that of Hollywood, but its billions of dollars in revenue makes it an important part of the city's economy and places it as the second largest center for the film industry in the United States. It is also a growth sector; according to the Mayor's Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting New York City attracted over 250 independent and studio films in 2005, an increase from 202 in 2004 and 180 in 2003. More than a third of professional actors in the United States are based in New York. The city's movie industry employs 100,000 New Yorkers, according to the Office, and about $5 billion is brought by the industry to the city's economy every year. International film makers work in the city, as well. The Bollywood film Kal Ho Naa Ho was shot in New York City in 2003, and has proceeded to become the fourth-highest grossing Indian film of all time.
In the earliest days of the American film industry, New York was the epicenter of filmmaking. However, the better year-round weather of Hollywood made it a better choice for shooting. The Kaufman-Astoria film studio in Queens, built during the silent film era, was used by the Marx Brothers and W.C. Fields. It has also been used for The Cosby Show, Sesame Street and the films of Woody Allen. The recently constructed Steiner Studios is a 15 acre (61,000 m²) modern movie studio complex in a former shipyard where The Producers and The Inside Man, a Spike Lee movie, were filmed.
Silvercup Studios revealed plans in February 2006 for a new $1 billion complex with eight soundstages, production and studio support space, offices for media and entertainment companies, stores, 1,000 apartments in high-rise towers, a catering hall and a cultural institution. The project is envisioned as a "veritical Hollywood" designed by Lord Richard Rogers, the architect of the Pompidou Center in Paris and the Millennium Dome in London. It is to be built at the edge of the East River in Queens and will be the largest production house on the East Coast. Steiner Studios in Brooklyn would still have the largest single soundstage, however. Kaufman Studios plans its own expansion in 2007.
Miramax Films, a Big Ten film studio, is the largest motion picture distribution and production company headquartered in the city. Many smaller independent producers and distributors are also in New York.
In the 1930s New York-based RCA was the nation's largest manufacturer of phonographs. In the late 19th and early 20th century, most sheet music in the United States — especially the popular songs of the day, many now standards — was printed at Tin Pan Alley, so called because the constant sound of new songs being tried out on pianos in the publishing houses was said to sound like a tin pan. By the early 1960s the radio and musical stars of the Golden Age of Broadway gave way to the Brill Building's "Brill Sound."
In the 1980s, hip hop labels including Def Jam, Roc-A-Fella, and Bad Boy Records were founded in New York, creating what is known as East Coast hip hop. These labels continue to be among the largest hip-hop labels in the world. Two of the "Big Four" music labels, Sony BMG Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group, also have their world headquarters in New York.
Because of its sheer size and cultural influence, New York City has been the subject of many different, and often contradictory, portrayals in mass media. From the sophisticated and worldly metropolis seen in many Woody Allen films, to the hellish and chaotic urban jungle depicted in such movies as Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver, New York has served as the unwitting backdrop for virtually every conceivable viewpoint on big city life.
In the early years of film New York City was characterized as urbane and sophisticated. By the city's crisis period in the 1970s, however, films like Midnight Cowboy, The French Connection, and Death Wish showed New York as full of chaos and violence. With the city's renaissance in the 1980s and 1990s came new portrayals on television; Friends, Seinfeld, and Sex and the City showed life in the city to be glamorous and interesting. Nonetheless a disproportionate number of crime dramas, such as Law & Order and the Spider-Man film series, continue to use the city as their setting despite New York's status as the safest large city in the United States after plummeting crime rates over many years.
An essay appearing in the Arts section of the New York Times in April 2006 quoted several filmmakers, including Sidney Lumet and Paul Mazursky, describing how modern cinema shows the city as far more "teeming, terrifying, exhilarating, unforgiving" than contemporary New York actually is, and the consequential challenge this poses for filmmakers. The article quotes Robert Greenhut, Woody Allen's producer, as saying that despite the increased sanitization of modern New York, "New Yorkers' personalities are different to Chicago. There's a certain kind of vibrancy and tone that you can't get elsewhere. The labor pool is more interesting than elsewhere — the salesgirl with one line, or the cop. That's who directors are looking for."
James Sanders, editor of Scenes From the City: Filmmaking in New York, 1966-2006, is quoted in the article as predicting that future films in New York City will move away from the well-worn setting of upper-middle class Manhattan neighborhoods to the outer boroughs, where they will begin examining the crosscurrents emanating from ethnic neighborhoods in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx.