Great BBC Proms but how about the bigger picture?
Independent audience data for Q2 2013 released this morning from RAJAR shows that the audience for BBC Radio 3 declined by 2.1% over the last twelve months and fell below the crucial 2 million threshold, although there was a small compensating increases in listening hours. This decline in audience was the exception in a strong twelve months for radio, with BBC Radio 4 - a good benchmark for Radio 3 - increasing audience by 4.3% and Classic FM by 2.4%. The success of a radio station cannot be measured solely by audience size. But these latest figures confirm that Radio 3 is losing the battle for both the serious and 'classical light' audiences. It is significant that the BBC News story above highlights the record audience figures for other BBC Radio networks but is silent about Radio 3. At some point the lacklustre performance of Radio 3 will be reflected in a reduced share of the license fee funding pot. Which means the mismanagement of the station is putting at risk not only the future of classical radio, but also the future of the Proms, five leading orchestras and the largest new music commissioning budget in the world. Yes, there are a lot of good things currently going on at the BBC Proms. But that is not an excuse for ignoring the bigger picture.
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