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Author Topic:  Radio 3 fans complain station is 'dumbing down'  (Read 3014 times)


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Radio 3 fans complain station is 'dumbing down'
« on: September 02, 2011, 07:06:10 PM »


Radio 3 is facing a growing backlash from listeners fed up with hearing the same pieces played repeatedly alongside an abundance of excerpts rather than entire works.

Ardent classical music fans are becoming increasingly frustrated with the stations attempts to appeal to the mass market by diluting its content.

Online message boards and forums have been buzzing with disquiet from listeners unimpressed with the steady influx of celebrity presenters, the regular phone-ins and audience participation.

The Breakfast show in particular, which represents the stations peak listening period, has been derided by the more discerning listener for its chatty, light-hearted style.

One fan keen for the station to stick to its roots is Jilly Cooper, the author, who said she could understand the need to attract more listeners but not at the expense of its core fan base.

She said: Im mad about Radio 3. But I dont like to hear too much from the listeners, they should be kept away.  I do also like to hear the whole thing, rather than excerpts and I think its a shame that were getting less of these. But then, when we are running around the kitchen we dont have time to listen to an entire symphony.

The Friends of Radio 3, an independent forum established last year which is supported by an array of public figures from Sir Andrew Motion to Prunella Scales, appears to be in agreement.

Spokeswoman Sarah Spilsbury, from Bristol, said: We certainly do recognise that this so-called dumbing down is a widely held view and the issue is increasingly debated.

One member, who asked not to be identified, said: In recent months, the BBC has tried to attract those people who may have listened to Classic FM and want to hear some nice tunes but that leaves those who have been listening for decades incredibly frustrated.

It encourages people to ring in with a suggestion and then we have to hear them burbling on about why that piece reminds them of their holiday while those who are very, very knowledgeable about classical music are sidelined.

Radio 3 recently poached Aled Jones, the former choirboy turned popular radio presenter, from Classic FM and has also signed up Katie Derham, the former ITV news reader, and Gareth Malone, a choirmaster best known for his BBC Two series The Choir.

RadioCentre, the industry body for commercial stations, last year criticised Radio 3 for its creeping populisation as part of its submission to the BBC Trusts review of Radios 3, 4 and 7.

It accused the station of borrowing programme ideas from Classic FM, its commercial rival, and expressed concerns that its attempts to grow its audience could dilute its output.

In recent days, the Friends of Radio 3 message board, has seen an outpouring of anger from listeners.

One said: Just about to turn on Breakfast and I see from the playlist there's another blinking Schubert Impromptu coming up.

I wonder if the resident statistician could tell me how many times Schubert Impromptus have been played so far this year?

Another said: We had the Toccata from CM Widor's 5th organ symphony AGAIN.......and now we are going to have phone-ins so I'm afraid I've had it with the 'Breakfast Show.

And one irate listener added: At least, I used to tell myself, Radio 3 doesn't play single movements from Vivaldi concerti well, it did this morning, just before 10.00am.

There is an audience which it has ceased to cater for. Totally. It isn't just the wretched Breakfast Show; the popularisation is infiltrating every part of the schedule.

The BBC admitted that there had been a handful of complaints of this nature over the last two months.

A BBC spokeswoman said: Radio 3 has a continuing commitment to delivering high-quality and distinctive music and cultural programming, presented by experts in their field.

The network is the biggest commissioner of classical music in the UK and broadcasts over 600 complete concerts a year. As the home of the Proms, the world's greatest classical music festival, Radio 3 exclusively broadcasts every concert live. Radio 3 also supports composers, writers and new young performers, and broadcasts over 40 new drama productions a year.

Having seen this creeping denominator lowering in other areas of BBC radio, I do feel for regular Radio 3 listeners.


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Radio 3 fan complains that the Telegraph reporting is feeble fluff.
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2011, 07:09:21 PM »
But it's not just Radio 3 as demonstrated by this post from the Friends of Radio 3 forum:

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