'According to official listening figures released yesterday ... BBC Radio 3, controversially overhauled last year to loud complaints from some listeners, saw its share of listening slump to a record low. The classical music, arts and culture station sank to its lowest share of listening, 0.9%, and saw weekly reach fall to 1.795m, a drop of 155,000 on the previous quarter and just above its all-time worst figure of 1.78m.
The shakeup in November 2006 saw Performance on 3 moved to 7pm, Late Junction moved to a late night slot and controller Roger Wright having to deny charges that he had reduced the amount of live music. Wright, who also took charge of the Proms last year, argued at the time that while there was less "live as live" performance, there was more "as live" recorded pieces and that listeners tended not to differentiate. A Radio 3 spokesman said it was "disappointing to see that classical music listening figures are down generally".'
There can be little surprise about today's Guardian report on RAJAR audience data for quarter ending March 2008 from which the quote above is taken. And it is typically disingeneous of the BBC to use the excuse that "classical music listening figures are down generally." Time and time again I have reported here how intelligent, imaginative and challenging programmes - the very qualities dumbed-out of today's Radio 3 - have boosted classical music audiences.
On Sunday May 4 you can listen to In Memory of the Six Million on Future Radio at 5.00pm (repeat at 00.50am on May 5) featuring this music:
Richard Strauss - Metamorphosen, realisation for string septet played by supplemented Brandis Quartet
Benjamin Frankel - Violin Concerto ‘In Memory of the Six Million’ played by Ulf Hoelscher with Queensland Symphony Orchestra conducted by Werner Andreas Albert.
Or listen to BBC 'Radio 2.5's' week long Composer of the Week featuring music by Noel Coward and Warsaw Concerto composer Richard Addinsell.
On May 17-18 you can wallow in Radio 3's wall-to-wall Chopin Experience, or reflect on Future Radio's Inner Cities webcast and anticipate their upcoming complete webcasts of Kaikhosru Sorabji's Opus Clavicembalisticum and of a lilas, an authentic Morrocan gnawa trance ritual in a world premiere broadcast.
BBC Radio 3 has a lot in common with today's big banks. They both blame market conditions for problems that are, in fact, caused by their own incompetence. And like banks the management rewards for failure at the BBC are not very different to those for success.
Image credit of BBC Radio 3 'photo opportunity' from TimesOnline. Any copyrighted material on these pages is included as "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s). Report broken links, missing images and errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk