BBC exec announces ‘ambitious plans’ for Radio 3

The BBC’s Director of Radio and Education, James Purnell, has announced what he called ‘ambitious plans’ for Radio 3 to help audiences develop a lifelong love of classical music.

Speaking at the Association of British Orchestras (ABO) Conference in Manchester, he announced a collaboration with Sport Relief and a showcase of female creativity.

“Beat Beethoven’ will see the composer’s music taken out of the concert hall and onto the running track, while “Seven Ages of Woman’ to mark International Women’s Day will see the world premiere broadcasts of work from seven composers, specially commissioned for Radio 3.

James Purnell also announced that there would be a move to bolster classical music in BBC Sounds over the coming months.

He said: “The critical shift for everyone in BBC radio has been to stop thinking of ourselves as a series of isolated stations and instead as part of a wider portfolio: a place where a listener can find audio that suits their tastes, regardless of the moment, whether it’s live or on demand, something on air or something only on Sounds.

“We’re also looking at ways we can provide more specialist radio options on BBC Sounds for classical music, whether adding classical streams or further complementing Radio 3 and the Proms on the app. These plans are all being developed, but I can say that we are looking at how we can bring the best of classical music to all our audiences, however and whenever they like to listen. We want to help new audiences develop a lifelong love of classical music.”

On Radio 3 as a linear station, Mr Purnell added: “I love what Alan Davey and the team are doing – raising the ambition of the station even higher, and redefining what Radio 3 can mean in a world with so much music, so much art, so much culture fighting for our attention. That means working even harder to get audiences to choose Radio 3, by creating a place away from the frenzy of everyday life, to revel in classical and cultural content.”

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12 Comments
  1. Mark Budgen says

    “This is BBC Radio 3. If you earn less than one hundred thisand pinds a year, switch orf now. We do not want your sort here.”

  2. Pat says

    A lot of meaningless waffle in the quotes made I reckon!.

  3. Andy says

    Not quite sure what to make of the first comment.
    Most of the people who I know that listen to Radio 3 work in the classical music world, and would love to be on an average salary, never mind over £100,000 a year.
    I don’t really see what the story is about either – a input to Sport Relief and some compositions from women, and something with the BBC Sounds App, but not yet.

  4. Mr Boltar says

    “Beat Beethoven”? Oh give it a rest with the making it relevenant rubbish. Its music – if people like it they’ll listen, if they don’t they won’t, simple as that.

    Also I wonder if they’ll have a special event for International Mens Day (19th november if you’re wondering)? Somehow I suspect not.

    1. Marco says

      Why? No idea what it means but sounds as if I will leaving radio 3.

  5. David says

    No! What we need is Radio 3 to remain as Radio 3 and to not be brought down to the level of Classic FM or, dear God no, Scala.
    Private Passions, Words And Music and The Listening Service are superb radio shows.

  6. mtfloppy says

    anything gender specific is wrong, sexist, stupid.

  7. Dan Dean says

    Last time I looked Radio 3 had a budget of 55million pounds. In the real commercial world it would struggle to attract any revenue and would fail.

    1. Mark budgen says

      It’s a culturally snobbish station.

  8. SteveB says

    It needs to loosen up and relax in a nutshell. I am sure there are all sorts of arguments about what sort of music to play.
    But you really are hitting a very narrow demographic by sounding remote, stand offish and by having Reithian style news bulletins at odd times.

  9. Willie Bone says

    Troopers, The original concept for the 1946 launch of the BBC Third Programme was actually an aspiration of the political left. It was to be the vehicle that would bring arts and culture to the broad working masses, i.e. the great unwashed, all in an affordable way, funded by the licence fee.
    BBC Radio 3’s airing of the summer Promenade concerts and News Year’s Day concert from Vienna are the most famous examples of bringing classical music to a wider audience! Other avenues are through supported regional city and town concert series promotions with affordable admission tickets for BBC Orchestras and other performers…

  10. Mark T says

    For those who love classical music it’s good to have three quality classical music stations (although I’m not sure how long Scala will survive). Figures up at Radio 3, and Classic FM.

    NZ just lost it’s only classical music station (lost the presenters and moved online, I think). Pity.

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