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A new schedule for Radio 3 at the weekend

Friday 13 September 2013, 11:30

Roger Wright Roger Wright Controller, Radio 3

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So the Last Night of the BBC Proms is behind us and, post-Summer, the new concert year and a new BBC-wide film music season begins.
It always feels to me like the start of a new term.
It has been terrific to hear and read all the acclaim that the Proms festival has received and I give huge thanks on behalf of our audience to all of my colleagues who worked so hard to deliver such a successful festival, not least the range of our broadcasting and interactive offer. 
On Radio 3 the live music continues and is expanded in our weekend schedule changes which we are announcing this week.
Radio 3 is playing its part in the BBC's savings plans and so our changes are the result of our having to work with a reduced budget and more limited resources.
However, we are keen to protect the range of what we do and these weekend schedule changes have given us the chance to increase our live in concert offer on Saturdays and Sundays. We have also taken the opportunity to help with the clarity and consistency of the scheduling, not least our jazz programmes on Saturday. I have, quite understandably, received from our committed jazz listeners feedback that our live opera scheduling makes it hard to know when the jazz programmes are on and sometimes they get knocked out of the schedule altogether. Our new Saturday schedule gives Jazz Record Requests a fixed slot and brings Jazz Line-Up back into daytime. 
There are though, sadly, losses. For example, World Routes is a terrifically distinctive programme but it is costly with all the foreign travel and so we are giving it a break, leaving World on 3 to continue to reflect global artists and topics in this music genre. The Early Music Show will also be reduced by one programme but will make way for a new lunchtime concert slot at 1pm.
There will also be a new Saturday programme about film music, presented by Matthew Sweet. This will come off the back of our film music season called Sound of Cinema, which will be the name of the new programme. We decided to create a film music programme to reflect the increasing interest in film music. 
So, we will have more live music and the weekend schedule will have a new look and feel to it. There will be many who will look forward to the new concert slots, the film show and a clarified jazz offering. Inevitably you can’t please everybody and of course whenever you make a change there will be those who disagree about our other output changing its broadcast times (such as moving Drama on 3 later). Drama on 3 will sit in a slot which we know attracts audiences for speech content. It is a slot that drama on Radio 3 has been in before. I hope that you continue to find much to enjoy and I look forward to hearing your responses to the programmes over the next few months.

So the Last Night of the BBC Proms is behind us, the Summer is over and the new concert year and a new BBC-wide film music season begin.

It always feels to me like the start of a new term.

It has been terrific to hear and read all the acclaim that the Proms festival has received and I give huge thanks on behalf of our audience to all of my colleagues who worked so hard to deliver such a successful festival, not least the range of our broadcasting and interactive offer.

On Radio 3 the live music continues and is expanded in our weekend schedule changes which we are announcing this week.

Radio 3 is playing its part in the BBC's savings plans and so our changes are the result of our having to work with a reduced budget and more limited resources.

However, we are keen to protect the range of what we do and these weekend schedule changes have given us the chance to increase our live in concert offer on Saturdays and Sundays. We have also taken the opportunity to help with the clarity and consistency of the scheduling, not least our jazz programmes on Saturday.

I have, quite understandably, received from our committed jazz listeners feedback that our live opera scheduling makes it hard to know when the jazz programmes are on and sometimes they get knocked out of the schedule altogether. Our new Saturday schedule gives Jazz Record Requests a fixed slot and brings Jazz Line-Up back into daytime.

There are though, sadly, losses. For example, World Routes is a terrifically distinctive programme but it is costly with all the foreign travel and so we are giving it a break, leaving World on 3 to continue to reflect global artists and topics in this music genre. The Early Music Show will also be reduced by one programme but will make way for a new lunchtime concert slot at 1pm.

There will also be a new Saturday programme about film music, presented by Matthew Sweet. This will come off the back of our film music season called Sound of Cinema, which will be the name of the new programme. We decided to create a film music programme to reflect the increasing interest in film music. So, we will have more live music and the weekend schedule will have a new look and feel to it. There will be many who will look forward to the new concert slots, the film show and a clarified jazz offering. Inevitably you can’t please everybody and of course whenever you make a change there will be those who disagree about our other output changing its broadcast times (such as moving Drama on 3 later). Drama on 3 will sit in a slot which we know attracts audiences for speech content. It is a slot that drama on Radio 3 has been in before. I hope that you continue to find much to enjoy and I look forward to hearing your responses to the programmes over the next few months.

Roger Wright, Controller, BBC Radio 3 and Director, BBC Proms

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Comments

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  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 1.

    Well, I suppose that cuts are inevitable, Roger, so congratulations on saving jazz, world music and drama on 3. May I also take this opportunity to congratulate you and your colleagues on a tour de force at the proms over the summer, and to wish you all every success in the future. You have contributed, in no small part, to a most unexpected cultural renaissance at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Despite all the criticism, thank you for your efforts. c;4)

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 2.

    I can't quite work this out - are we losing the live Metropolitan Opera broadcasts on a Saturday evening? This would be a disaster, especially as there is already little enough opera broadcast on the BBC. Could be have some clarification, please?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 3.

    As I understand it, we are losing the Met broadcasts, but the Monday Live in Concert (which may not always be 'live') will be the new opera slot. Also, occasional Saturday evenings. Not sure what the priorities are:

    To save on costly Met broadcasts?
    To rearrange Saturday afternoons to accommodate the regular 'film music' programme, neatly tucked into the 4-5pm slot just before Classic FM's weekly film music slot begins?
    To prevent disruption to Jazz Record Requests and bring Jazz Line-Up back down to a Saturday 'Jazz Zone' whence it was banished a few years ago?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 4.

    I suppose that with Met broadcasts so widely available in cinemas around the country, french frank, you have the choice of Bristol's Cinema de Lux and Vue Longwell Green anyway?

    http://www.metoperafamily.org/metopera/liveinhd/uk.aspx

    I trust that all is well with you too, french frank, and that you have made a robust recovery in 2013. All the best! c;4)

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 5.

    So you've axed World Routes *and* one Early Music Show? Well done, thou good and faithful servant! Thy masters shall smile upon thee.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 6.

    I am sad to see Live at the Met go, it brought an international feel to the station. It is sometimes available on RAI one hour behind which might be an alternative way of picking it up. It is surprising that there is not more feedback about this. I feel the quality of the Met broadcasts beat the current film music we have been having, I thought I was tuned into the Light programme sometimes these last couple of weeks.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 7.

    This coming Sunday evening, Neil, Lucy Duran looks back over 13 years of the programme, selecting some of the most memorable recordings made in almost 70 countries around the world.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03bfjqz

    We particularly liked the 2013 World Routes Prom, french frank.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/music/proms/10261903/Proms-2013-World-Routes-Prom-review.html

    What I would suggest to Roger, assuming that he will come back to look at the comments he has received here on the Radio 3 Blog is that for a swan song, he could revamp Radio 3's greatest programmes as testimony to the cultural renaissance we have witnessed at the turn of the third millennium!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 8.

    It's been edited, hasn't it? I copied a bit of it and the 6th par started: "In reappraising the schedule we have *prioritised* protecting the unique range of the station's classical, *world music*, jazz and arts content." I think the end of that sentence was 'although with reduced output'. I did wonder how 'prioritising' world music squared with dropping one of the programmes.

    People very miffed about losing that Early Music Show - was it more expensive than prioritising a new film music programme on Saturdays?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 9.

    Plus ça change, french frank, plus c'est la même chose?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 10.

    It should not be forgotten that many many listeners are disgusted by "jazz." It is after all a degraded and cynical form - don't take my word for it but refer to the well-known views of Lord Reith and Percy Scholes. Therefore if you really MUST broadcast this dreadful stuff - and many would prefer that you did not - but if transatlantic pressure is irresistible, then the only appropriate "time slot" would obviously be in the dead of night. Seriously, we must think of the youth of the nation and the effect it will have upon their education and character.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 11.

    To be honest, I rather like jazz, Arbiter, and reckon that it is a good match for both classical and world music on BBC Radio 3. Its roots lie in the combining by African-Americans of certain European harmony and form elements, with their existing African-based music. Its African musical basis is evident in its use of blue notes, improvisation, polyrhythms, syncopation and the swung note. From its early development until the present day, jazz has also incorporated elements from popular music especially, in its early days, from American popular music.

    In 1936, Theodor Adorno, one of the founders of the Frankfurt School of Philosophy, wrote an article about jazz music, 'Über Jazz', although it should be noted that in the 'thirties, jazz was frequently used to refer to all popular music. Adorno launched a polemic against the blooming entertainment industry, arguing that popular culture was a system by which society was controlled through a top-down creation of standardised culture that intensified the commodification of artistic expression. In the post-war period, the Frankfurt School's argument, that most of culture helps to keep its audience compliant with capitalism, had an explosive impact.

    Adorno saw the culture industry as an arena in which critical tendencies or potentialities were eliminated. He argued that the culture industry, which produced and circulated cultural commodities through the mass media, manipulated the population. Popular culture was identified as a reason why people become passive; the easy pleasures available through consumption of popular culture made people docile and content, no matter how terrible their economic circumstances. The differences among cultural goods make them appear different, but they are in fact just variations on the same theme.

    Adorno's analysis allowed for a critique of mass culture from the left which balanced the critique of popular culture from the right. From both perspectives — left and right — the nature of cultural production was felt to be at the root of social and moral problems resulting from the consumption of culture. However, while the critique from the right emphasised moral degeneracy ascribed to sexual and racial influences within popular culture, Adorno located the problem not with the content, but with the objective realities of the production of mass culture and its effects. Arguably, it remains influential today.

    From a sociological point of view, I think that there is a sense in which the emergence of popular culture in the nineteenth century generated Friedrich Nietzsche in opposition to that popular culture, french frank. Much as I admire the Frankfurt School's analysis in the twentieth century, I do not agree with Adorno's take on jazz, pop music or the consumer society in general. What do you reckon, Arbiter?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 12.

    Little comment on the dropping of the MET broadcasts because its not made clear in this or the press release. It is a great shame and I do not see that the immensely popular cinema relays could be sited as a reason - I want to listen at home on the Radio not go out on a Saturday evening. Will have to work out how to link my computer to the sterio system I suppose.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 13.

    I know when to go out, marthawood4d, and when to stay in. Get things done!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNQa7T4kS6w

    You, too, Roger? c;4)

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 14.

    And will Pre-Hear continue as usual, when Live in Concert is a bit short, or does the 'new extended' Hear & Now just include Pre-Hear?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 15.

    I would reluctantly accept the axing of World Routes if you replaced it with a cheaper World Music programme, but the real problem is the reduction in the level of provision of World Music. For the BBC to provide only 2 hours a week of music from Africa, Asia and Latin America is a scandal.
    Given the number of excellent World Music concerts that take place in England, it would be possible to have more broadcast concerts, visiting musicians in your studios etc. You do this with Classical music, please give the many World Music fans some thing.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 16.

    So we lose some of the sublime Early Music Show in exchange for some movie themes. Maybe you haven't noticed, but film music doesn't really work without a film. Can you can replace Composer of the Week for a text-in request show while you are at it.

    Well done, keep up the good work.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 17.

    And another thing, Roger, when you say:

    "The Early Music Show will also be reduced by one programme but will make way for a new lunchtime concert slot at 1pm."

    This is only "new" in that the lunchtime concert will be moved from 2pm to 1 pm. Then Saturday Classics is moved from 3pm to 2pm, and the new film music programme is slipped into the slot just before the Classic FM film show hour with Howard Goodall. If you're interested in the music, you'll probably do better to listen to Howard Goodall on Classic since he does know about music.

 

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