Saturday, February 18, 2012

Salvation Army band plays Xenakis


In a post on the BBC Radio 3 blog network controller Roger Wright tells us he will be broadcasting 200 hours of non-stop Schubert in March and that the audience for Radio 3's breakfast programme has increased by 25%. Now there can be no dispute that the increase in breakfast audience has been achieved by moving the station down market. Confirmation of this is provided by the 5.4% decrease in Radio 3's total audience for the same period, a key statistic mysteriously omitted from the controller's blog post. Which raises the question of how can Radio 3's breathless race to the bottom be reconciled with 200 hours of Schubert? The answer lies in one word - distinctiveness. BBC network controllers spend a lot of time in meetings with brand consultants; these are the guys with designer stubble, iPads and BMW X5s who preach that you can do anything with a brand provided that you mix in the occasional distinctiveness. This dogma explains why Radio 3's dash to beat Classic FM to rock bottom is punctuated by late night Jonathan Harvey and Schubert marathons. The theory is that the trite leavened by the distinctive equals great radio, but the practice is that it equals a Salvation Army band playing Xenakis. More on that remarkable architect turned composer here.

Also on Facebook and Twitter. Photo of Iannis Xenakis via BVHAAST online record store. 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

1 comment:

Pliable said...

A reader has emailed a very thoughtful response to this post. It forms a new post here - http://www.overgrownpath.com/2012/02/brass-bands-and-xenakis-are-not-crazy.html