BBC Radio 3 Denies Plans to Reduce Classical Programming, Admits to Cuts in Concerts Carried Live

Classic Arts News   BBC Radio 3 Denies Plans to Reduce Classical Programming, Admits to Cuts in Concerts Carried Live
 
BBC Radio 3 has responded to rumors that its upcoming programming changes will reduce the presence of classical music in its schedule, British media report. While the network acknowledges that the number of concerts carried live in real time will be reduced, executives stressed that overall classical output and quality will not be diminished.

The station is planning a major revamp of its schedule, which will be announced in December and implemented beginning next February.

Several programs will be rescheduled and others eliminated. Roger Wright, Radio 3's controller, told The Guardian that four of the hour-long programs that currently occupy the 4 pm slot will be discontinued, including Stage and Screen, Voices, Brian Kay's Light Program and Jazz Legends. This, he told the paper, will "give more time for classical music," from "big concerts to solo instrumental recitals." The current Afternoon Performance slot will expand an hour; all material used will be specially recorded for Radio 3.

Performance on 3, whose starting time will move from 7:30 to 7 pm, will broadcast fewer live concerts and more previously recorded events, although the BBC Proms will still be broadcast live during the summer from the Royal Albert Hall.

Wright told The Guardian that there would be "a bit less live as live" music on the network. But "the number of recordings that we get specially will actually go up in the schedule. The idea that there will be fewer commissions or less support for the BBC orchestras is nonsense." He also said there will not be more shows relying on excerpts from concerts.

The reduction in live concerts, even if it means an overall increase in classical broadcasting at the station, has met with protests from listeners. The BBC quotes Sarah Spilsbury, co-ordinator of the campaign group Friends of Radio 3, as saying that listeners often preferred concerts broadcast live.

"If you have a presenter that is actually there on the site describing what is going on in the moment, that gives more of a sense of occasion than having the introductions from the studio. Some people do like to feel [the concert] is actually happening now; it's exciting, anything could happen because it's live. It's quite a different feel when you know it happened yesterday."

In addition to conventional radio signals across the UK, BBC Radio 3 is available in a live audio stream over the Internet at www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/; most of its programs are also available in streaming audio on demand for seven days after broadcast.


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