How would you fix a classical radio station?

Hi, I saw your blog online and I was wondering if you’d be interested in joining a group of classical music enthusiasts on Friday 13th April at 6pm, to share your expertise, opinions and a glass of wine, followed by attending the performance of Sibelius Symphony No 2 by the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican.

We are researching classical music on the radio (specifically Radio 3) and we want to hear the views of the experts – you! We would really appreciate your time for a discussion before the concert, which will be held at a venue near the Barbican. We want to explore your thoughts on Radio3 and steal some of your knowledge, in return we will provide the wine and the concert tickets.

We really appreciate your help. We think it will be a really informative and fun evening.

Lara Bale – Social Media Executive - Initiative
That amiable email arrived on Friday. Good news that the BBC has finally realised that Radio 3 is broken. But bad news that one of the tools they are using to fix it is Initiative, a communications consultancy with a client list including includes Credit Suisse, CNN, HBO, Coca-Cola, Tesco and Ikea - see screen grabs from their website. More not so good news is that none of Initiative's clients seem to have any connection with classical music other than as sponsors, take another bow Credit Suisse. Then there is the question of whether the views of so-called "experts" who are London based and respond both to flattery and to the lure of free wine and a ticket to hear the BBC Symphony Orchestra playing Sibelius' Second Symphony, let's not go there, is in any way a representative sample. But the bottom line is why spend the license fee on an expensive "performance-led" communications agency when the answer is blowin' in the wind?

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Pliable said…
"None of Initiative's clients seem to have any connection with classical music other than as sponsors": in fairness I have now found this link on Initiative's website -
Pliable said…
Zach England via Facebook - I love to hear Europeans complain about classical music radio. At least you HAVE classical music radio.
Pliable said…
Jane Sullivan via Facebook - Perhaps I'll turn up with my score for this piece. After all, I'm obviously one of their ideal listeners; so passionately interested in the music that I want to hear the parts that you can't normally hear because the modern orchestra is so unbalanced, so I have to read the score to hear the missing parts in my head.

I agree with you that the exercise is futile. If they want to spend some of the licence fee sorting Radio 3 out, it's quite simple: Make up a committee of the regulars in the front of the Arena at the Proms; that's those of us who queue for six hours or more for a concert every day throughout the season. We obviously know how to put things right with Radio 3, we spend enough time discussing how to go about it. And we aren't all from the UK; there are people from all over the world in that queue.

Zach: You can have classical music radio too, by means of your computer. It might not be the highest of fidelity, but it's better than nothing.
Pliable said…
Zach, I am afraid I don't subscribe tor the "be thankful for what you have" school of thinking.
Instead I subscribe to the "be aware of what we had, which was needlessly destroyed" school.

Jane, you are quite right about the geographic audience spread. This research exercise simply reflects the London-centric thinking of BBC Radio 3. Even if I wanted to attend, which I don't, the travel cost to the Barbican rules it our for me. Which makes the research sample self-selecting and unreliable.
Pliable said…
Jane Sullivan again via Facebook - which is a very good reason why I should turn up. In my opinion, I am exceedingly reliable and since I am retired and live in London my travel cost to the Barbican is £0.00. And I'd rather it were London-centric than Salford-centric.

For those who live outside the UK I should explain that Salford is the controversial new BBC base outside Manchester -
Pliable said…
Zach England via Facebook - I don't mean to imply you should simply be thankful for what you have. Sorry to be snarky. However, I do suggest that the debate, such that is it, sounds very different this side of the Atlantic and outside of the major coastal cultural centers. While I appreciate that I have classical radio via my computer (and also over the air thanks to one local station) my resentment has less to do with the actual availability of the medium than it does with cultural values in my locale.

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