« Previous | Main | Next »

A good news week for Radio 3

Post categories:

Roger Wright Roger Wright | 10:16 UK Time, Thursday, 12 May 2011

This is a particularly busy week for the classical music world and especially for us at Radio 3 and the BBC Proms.

Proms booking opened on Saturday, the Sony Awards were on Monday night, the Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards took place the following evening and today the latest set of listening figures have been announced.

First day of booking is always a nerve-wracking part of the Proms calendar. I was confident that the online system which proved so successful last year would hold up well again but, given the uncertain times in which we live, there is always a doubt about the desire of audiences to commit early to summer events. History seems to suggest that, even in difficult periods, there is a real appetite to go to events and be taken out of ourselves. It is also clear that those activities which are regarded to be value for money will still attract large audiences.  I need not have worried about the strength of our sales on the first day as we had a record number of bookings.  Our audiences are still able to do postal booking, by phone and in person but the strength of the online booking allows us to service far more people more quickly with a fairer system. By the middle of the evening on Saturday we had sold over 85,000 tickets, more than last year and in a shorter period of time.  But even when there are no seats left for particular Proms, they are not 'sold out' - that doesn't happen until more than a thousand promming places are sold on the day.  So there are still thousands of tickets for sale!  Returns also keep on coming back to the Royal Albert Hall box office. So if you were unlucky first time round, you can always have another go.

Photo of Jez Nelson

Jez Nelson - Sony Gold for Jazz on 3

The Sony Awards and RPS Music Awards are contrasting evenings but, unlike the Proms, both involve putting on 'black tie'. At the Sonys, Radio 3 won Silver in the Best Feature Award for a marvellously atmospheric feature, The Haunted Moustache in our Between the Ears strand; and I am delighted that Jazz on 3 won the Gold Award in the Best Specialist Music Programme category. The presenter Jez Nelson and his colleagues have been nominated before but this was a first Gold for the programme and it is hugely well deserved.

And it's congratulations to our colleagues at BBC Classical Music TV who won the Creative Communications category at the RPS Music Awards for Opera Italia with Antonio Pappano. Listen out on Sunday afternoon on Radio 3 and you'll hear a fascinating round-up of the classical music year as well as some thought-provoking words from writer Mark Ravenhill as the guest speaker.

Like the interest shown in the Proms, the Radio 3 listening figures for the first three months of this year give a very positive message about the healthy state
of audiences for music and the arts in the UK. The station's recent strong performances in the last six months have been continued as our highest listening figures for seven years have just been announced. Perhaps this is an indication of the positive impact provided by Mozart and our special January programming devoted exclusively to him.

I hope that with the excitement created by our new live music evening schedule this figure will continue to grow.

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

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    "History seems to suggest that, even in difficult periods, there is a real appetite to go to events and be taken out of ourselves."

    So you are pushing escapism?

    "I hope that with the excitement created by our new live music evening schedule this figure will continue to grow."

    It's only new in relation to the recent period when R3 stopped broadcasting "live" music in the evenings. You make it sound like something never done before, your innovation (whereas your innovation was, precisely, the period when there was no "live music" on in the evenings).

    Congratulations, coming second to talkSport at the Sony Awards :-).

  • Comment number 2.

    "I hope that with the excitement created by our new live music evening schedule this figure will continue to grow."

    But not a new, new music (live) evening schedule ... any chance of the music that is more or less confined to Hear & Now on R3 being broadcast live in the evenings? Or of live broadcasts from the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival?

  • Comment number 3.

    I think the new live concerts are great. Firstly there is a greater feeling of "being there" There is also no chance of editing mistakes, as occurred at the beginning of the scherzo in a recent broadcast of Bruckner's 5th (still a terrific performance from the BBC Scottishers and Ilan Volkov) Delighted, by the way, that you are visiting Liverpool on the 26th for what will be an exciting Mahler 7th so I can go to the concert then listen later to my recording. Splendid- BBC R3- a national treasure, and talking of treasure, it would be great if you could open up the archive. Can I suggest you start with Jascha Horenstein?

  • Comment number 4.

    "Firstly there is a greater feeling of 'being there'" - indeed! That's what lots of people said when Radio 3 stopped broadcasting the, erm, "old" live concerts. And replaced them with delayed relays which, Radio 3 said, were every bit as good as live concerts. It seems a bit rich - having criticised the critics who wanted live concerts retained - to make such a song and a dance about reinstating them. Or, rather, it seems very rich to call them "new"; as if nobody had thought of the idea before. It's what Radio 3 has always done. Apart from the recent brief period when they did something different.

    "it would be great if you could open up the archive. Can I suggest you start with Jascha Horenstein?" Well, yes. That would be fine. What would be even finer would be if Radio 3 broadcast live performances of new music in main evening slots. Rather than being exclusively a 'living heritage' station. And by that I don't mean the usual names who crop up ... Macmillan, Adès etc. I live in hope :-).

  • Comment number 5.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 6.

    The historical revisionism regarding the 'new' live concerts is truly Stalinesque

  • Comment number 7.

    It's good that the live evening concert has been reinstated ... but please spare us the spin.

    And compare the extensive live coverage on SWR2 of Donaueschingen with Radio 3's coverage of Huddersfield i.e. a few late night programmes a couple of months later.

  • Comment number 8.

    Who's the guy in your (rather irritating) Live Concerts trail who "likes to hear the coughs in the audience"??!

 

More from this blog...

Categories

These are some of the popular topics this blog covers.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.