BBC Radio 3 falls silent after organ failure

Two minutes of dead air followed the live failure of the York Minster organ on BBC Radio 3 this week.

The station was broadcasting live from the Cathedral for its Choral Evensong on Wednesday when the organ, and singing, faded out.

After almost two minutes, an announcer apologised for the technical problem and went to pre-recorded music previously recorded on the same organ.

It happened around 45 minutes into the hour-long programme, which never returned to the OB due to problems in York.

A spokesperson for Radio 3 told RadioToday: “During BBC Radio 3’s live recording of Choral Evensong from York Minster on Wednesday, a malfunction of the organ caused it to cease to sound during the anthem (Philip Moore’s “The Spacious Firmament”).

“Due to this failure of the Minster’s principal musical instrument, it wasn’t possible to continue with the broadcast. The remainder of the service was later recorded for broadcast this Sunday (1500-1600 BBC Radio 3) and will also be available on iPlayer in full.”

The Radiofail website has captured the fail, and we’ve embedded it for you below.

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  1. Radio Geordie says

    It happened on Radio 3. No one would’ve noticed.

  2. Peccavimus says

    Oi. I was, and I did. Cheeky.

  3. james birkett says

    when I was young Radio 3 (then the Third programme) was silent from about 11pm to 7pm the following day!

  4. Matthew B says

    At least the organ failed silently, rather than producing a cipher. I wonder how long it took people to realise it wasn’t the poor organist’s fault….

  5. Howard Ellison says

    Radio3 does deliver surprises, along with glorious music. Some years ago a live Lunchtime Concert broadcast a modern piece by Alexander Goehr, conducted by the composer.
    Two minutes in brought a jangling that didn’t quite fit, even in the avante garde context. Orchestra faltered. Evidently thinking it must be in the score somewhere, dutiful BBC balance engineer faded UP the fire alarm to full volume!
    Goehr from podium (suppressing a sigh): “Will somebody please attend to that”.

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