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Controller Roger Wright on the cutbacks - and what was on in 1991

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Roger Wright Roger Wright | 10:12 UK Time, Friday, 7 October 2011


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I have just been preparing my monthly note about our forthcoming programming and it seemed odd not to make some reference to the announcements that the BBC has just made. So so I thought I’d blog to explain our plans.

Our savings target for content spend is £1.6m, which is 4% of the station's total. We have taken the decision to protect the range and breadth of the station's output, not least its commitment to new work, but inevitably, therefore, we will have to reduce costs in some areas to deliver the required savings.


The bulk of our costs are in the areas of live and specially-recorded music and drama output so that's where we have to achieve our savings.

However we have selected our cost reduction very carefully in order to minimise the impact for our audience in the next few years.

Discovering Music has been reduced in length and will now be in its new shortened form in the future. The volume of output broadcast from the Ulster Orchestra will be reduced, as will the amount of specially recorded material for Hear and Now.

The spend on lunchtime concerts will be reduced and the rate of repeats increased; the cost of some live evening concerts will also be reduced, but with no impact on the station’s commitment to a live performance every weekday evening.

Radio 3 will see a reduction in drama volume, but will still broadcast at least 30 new drama productions every year and remain committed to new writing.

To protect the BBC Proms, no savings are proposed in this area.

Analysis of the BBC’s orchestras and the BBC Singers is underway to explore opportunities for savings, with proposals expected by the end of the year.


Radio 3 logo from 1991

Radio 3 logo from 1991

With these announcements to prepare it has been another really busy week and for me it also included the pleasure of talking to Roger Bolton on Radio 4's Feedback. You will be able to hear the interview today and in its repeat on Sunday or via catch-up listening. I will have to wait until the broadcast to hear its edited form but I was fascinated by some of the feedback from listeners. After two weeks of soliciting comments, Roger told me that Feedback had received responses from 139 listeners, a disappointingly small number compared to the larger volume of communications we regularly receive on individual programmes on Radio 3 from listeners keen to interact with the station and have their voices and views heard.

I was told beforehand that there would be some questions about the playlist and amount of news on Breakfast and so, just by way of preparation, compared the schedule for Radio 3 20 years ago and was astonished by the contrast with today's programming.

I am not alone here in being proud of the heritage of the station and being intrigued by our history and past programmes and running orders. There is perhaps a radio programme on this subject!

I feel confident that readers of this blog will also want to know what I discovered.

So here is the schedule for the morning of Friday 4 October 1991:

6.35 Open University
6.55 Weather and News headlines
7.00 Morning Concert
Telemann: Concerto
Corelli: Violin Sonata
Handel: Italian Duet
7.30 News
Brahms: Double Concerto
J.Strauss: Blue Danube Waltz
Kunneke: Trio
Berlioz: Hungarian March
8.30 News
8.35 Composers of the week: Mozart (Brahms was the other composer of the week at 11.35pm)

There were three more 5-minute news bulletins later in the day at 1p.m., 7p.m. and 11.30pm

Here is the music we played last Sunday morning (with 2-3 minute news bulletins on the hour) in that same morning time slot:

Karlowicz: Returning Waves
Hummel: Rondo all'Ungherese
Glazunov: Concert Waltz no.1
Monk: Abide with Me
Mendelssohn: On Wings of Song
Bach: Brandenburg Concerto no.4
Sibelius: Chorus of the Winds from the Tempest
Mozart: Finale from Piano Trio in E major
Philips: O quam sauvis est
Bernstein: Candide Overture
Handel: Aria from Acis and Galatea
Prokofiev: Symphony no.1
Beethoven: Moonlight Sonata (first movement)
 Dream of Gerontius (closing section) (listener request)
Pachelbel: Suite in B flat major
Boulez: Notations 3 and 4
Bax: Music from Oliver Twist

The rest of that day in 1991 had no live music, included over 5 hours of repeats, 90 minutes of 'Mainly for Pleasure' and finished its broadcasting at 2.25am after 85 minutes of schools broadcasting.

It is certainly a schedule of a different age! I have had enormous fun checking my memory of Proms concerts against the reality of our online Proms database and I am now going to do the same with Radio 3. I have been listening since its early days in the late 60s and so back copies of the Radio Times will be my reading and memory jogging pleasure in the next few weeks!




  • Comment number 1.

    Do we have to have the news so frequently in the morning rush-hour programme? Once every half-hour, with the presenter reminding us of the headlines at 6:45 seems a bit much. Going back to the 1991 pattern, with news at 6:30, 7:30 and 8:30 would seem to be better. With bigger gaps between news bulletins, maybe there would be room to fit in complete works, rather than single movements of larger works that we have now.

  • Comment number 2.

    "Roger told me that Feedback had received responses from 139 listeners, a disappointingly small number "

    Perhaps because they felt they could have written your script themselves? I assume you will ignore all the complaints and introduce your own agenda? Like how things were much worse in the old days?

    Have you read Gillian Reynolds, Paul Donovan, Michael White, Stephen Moss &c. in the press?

  • Comment number 3.

    I do sometimes listen to Feedback but I suspect that (like me) lots of your listeners were tuned to Radio 3 at the time!

    I think Jane Sullivan makes excellent points. If I'm listening to Radio 3 in the early morning, it's probably because I want a news-free break from the Today programme; in that context, a two minute summary on the half hour would do me fine.

    One obvious difference between those two schedules is that the the emphasis has shifted (a bit too far, I think) away from complete works. There is another radio station that specialises in fragments and I'm not sure that is what Radio 3 ought to be doing.

    I realise that you're trying to make the best of a hasty and ill-judged licence fee settlement, and that low-profile salami slicing is the chosen approach. Personally, I think it would have made a lot more sense to make two brilliant television channels out of BBC2, BBC3 and BBC4 rather than retain three that will struggle to reach their full potential.

  • Comment number 4.

    139 responses because we are sick to death of the predictable PR platitudes, the fact that RW rarely if ever has the courage to be interviewed live by people who know what they are talking about - does RW fancy appearing with Steve Hewlett in a ten minute live slot on The Media Show on R4? - I bet he doesn't.

    So, the pathetically inadequate and routinely ill-informed about R3 interviewing by Roger Bolton does no service to R3 and underlines the implicit assumption made by RW that listeners are always wrong and RW is not. We will hear ritual hand-wringing, self-exculpation and spin. We know it, so why add to it?

  • Comment number 5.

    aha noticeably silent on Jazz Programmes which you have pretty well shafted Mr Wright ... I did mail Feedback but said what I think many feel in consequence of your stewardship of Radio 3, dispirited and despairing .... the notion of "live" is a rather plastic in the recent history of Radio 3 don't you think ..; we do not believe that you will pay any heed at all so what really is the point ... you make me very sad Mr Wright, you are taking away a great legacy and all the spin and comparisons will not disguise the fact

  • Comment number 6.

    Roger, as you know - don't you? - I'm not personally keen on jazz. So what? I'm with aka Calum da Jazbo all the way.

    What possible justification do you have for trumpeting, c. 2001, the fact that jazz is being given a higher profile, more social slots during the daytime, and then 10 years later you've chucked that policy and push all the jazz (okay, you wouldn't dare mess with JRR) up into the graveyard slots? And cut the number of programmes? What possible justification?

    If your remit says R3 covers jazz, then jazz should be integrated into the main schedules, not pushed up out of sight.

    You've turned Radio 3's strategy on its head in five years: either admit you got it wrong the first time, or put your hands up and admit you've got it horribly, horribly wrong now. Which you have.

  • Comment number 7.

    I sympathise with the need for financial savings but I think it's a shame that R3 has gone for "range and breadth" above quality. One of the striking things about the 1991 schedule (why compare a Friday with a Sunday?) is that broadcasts didn't start until 0700. If money is tight, why have an extra 30 minutes of tweeting every day? Couldn't we have the Open University back instead? The lunchtime concert and drama have long been high amongst the glories of Radio 3 but, sadly, it seems that they're now going to be cut whilst the programmes featuring trivial chat and snippets of popular classics are expanding.

    I feel especially sorry for newcomers to classical music as the only remaining programme which aims to explain it to them, Discovering Music, is being reduced to the length of an interval feature.

    I'm pleased to see the commitment to live music in the evenings continuing following its recent restoration after previous cuts.

    By the way, why are you surprised that 'only' 139 Radio 3 listeners responded to a programme on Radio 4?

  • Comment number 8.

    Have just heard your disingenuous agenda-shifting as they bowled you slow lobs on Feedback. The gall of you, frankly. If you cannot distinguish between R3's current sickly and second-rate morning output and what R3 was putting out in 1991, you are either cloth-eared or mendacious. So we must assume that you can, and that you are merely patronising.

    The evenings are much better.

  • Comment number 9.

    I deeply regret the decision to reduce live broadcasts of the lunchtime concerts, but I do understand the reasoning behind this decision. There is little enough chamber music broadcast on Radio 3 at present. I do hope that with this change in programming, Radio 3 takes the opportunity to broadcast more chamber music in the evening, when a larger number of listeners are able to enjoy it. Perhaps a regular "Chamber Music Hour" should feature in Radio 3's evening schedule.

  • Comment number 10.

    I was disappointed with the interview on Feedback.

    I was hopeful that you'd be asked about Saturday afternoons, and the shift of World Music and Jazz to graveyard slots, but you weren't. Perhaps you didn't have any examples of jazz and world enthusiasts who were delighted to lose their Saturday afternoon listening, and being insomniacs, much preferred the graveyard slots.

    Can you tell us whether it is a disappointingly small number of jazz and world enthusiasts who have contacted you to say they are happy with the loss of the Saturday afternoon world and jazz programming? Can you tell us how it compares with the numbers who have complained?

    Why is jazz being sidelined? Do you see it as an important part of what Radio 3 does? On the About the BBC web page, the first paragraph about Radio 3 mentions jazz and world music. However, jazz now feels like a footnote in small print on a page that is too often lost.

  • Comment number 11.

    Hello Roger - just to say I'm saddened by the disgruntlement of listeners to the Breakfast programming. It wasn't that long ago that the press etc. was announcing that Radio3 was too elitist. Now, at breakfast, you're giving us a brilliant choice of presenters with terrific music and no ads. I remember when the Third Programme became the Music Programme until 6pm, and then Radio 3 was born. Radio 3 overall does a superb job, covering every aspect of music and words. Each day your breakfast output provides me with new discoveries and beauties from the standard rep. I'm not very likely to listen to a complete Bruckner symphony before noon, but the inclusion of two Bruckner highlights in Essential Classics this week was perfect. Radio 3 has had to continually update and become more 'accessible' over the years, without losing sight of its core audience. My listening life would have been seriously compromised without it.

  • Comment number 12.

    I'm just listening to the Feedback programme. You said, "Roger [Bolton] told me that Feedback had received responses from 139 listeners, a disappointingly small number ...".

    Roger Bolton has just said they haven't had so many responses 'since Nigel Pargetter fell of the roof'.

    Whose spin?

  • Comment number 13.

    Susan, maybe not a Bruckner symphony, but what about a Mozart piano concerto or a Haydn symphony?

    Roger, the BBC has a wonderful resource in its orchestras; musicians who can play almost anything with minimal rehearsal. Would it not be possible to get them to play some concertos or sinfonias concertante where the soloists are plucked from the orchestra, thereby saving money by avoiding paying fees to some visiting soloist?

  • Comment number 14.

    Since I only listen to R3 regularly and only very occasionally check the news on R4 I had no idea I had to go to R4 to comment on R3......maybe I am not bright enough for the "new R3"!
    Also having spent considerable time and a fair amount of money upgrading my hi-fi go handle the R3 HD stream....excellent by the way!....I now find I am listening to lots of dreary waffle from presenter and guests from 9:00 to 12:00. Classical Collection may not have been perfect but it was far better than Essential Classics.
    So off to search the internet for a musical alternative.
    One of the "small minority"!
    I listened to Feedback on iplayer and found Roger's responses just like most politicians .......repeat the message you want people to hear and avoid answering any questions directly.

  • Comment number 15.

    If you feel that there is a small number of complaints and therefore everything is OK then perhaps you could consider the responses that complaints receive. I have formally complained twice this year, in January (ref CAS-537929-NGPV5K) about the brutal cancelling of 2 entire weeks' jazz programming for a pointless Mozart marathon and in July (ref CAS-837783-644C04) about the repeated erosion of jazz programmes for long operas. Both times I received a bland standard reply, one of which did not even mention jazz. I also responded to the Trust consultation on R3 this year to complain about the shoddy treatment of jazz.

    Now jazz is even further marginalised in your new schedule I really can not be bothered to complain any more and accept you win. It is now clearly apparent that the current regime at R3 does not care about jazz and would rather not have it on the network.

  • Comment number 16.

    Roger: Although I am in the U.S. and - obviously - a nonpaying licensee, the attention given to jazz programming by Radio3 has been a 'boonswaggle' for this listener. Especially Jez Nelson's JazzOn3.

    Keep it up, old chap...

  • Comment number 17.

    Very disappointed about the reduction in Ulster Orchestra concerts. This will surely increase the financial pressures facing the Orchestra, the only professional orchestra in Northern Ireland.

  • Comment number 18.

    Oh dear! I've just listened to Feedback on the iPlayer. I'm afraid Roger W's arguments didn't sound very convincing even though Roger B didn't press him very hard. Perhaps it would be wiser to get someone else to do it next time.

  • Comment number 19.

    What Roger Wright doesn't say in his comparison between 1991 and 2011 is that in the earlier programmes only complete works were played whereas now it is usually only single movements plucked from a longer work a la Classic FM. Certainly the interview with Roger Bolton was not challenging enough but as expected he was right and listeners were wrong. What a great spin he puts on the changes in today's Radio 3 Controller's Notes!

  • Comment number 20.

    Only 139 comments? Any do you really get more emails than that saying what a fine programme you put on at breakfast. I just don't believe it. From noon to 6.30am you broadcast the best radio station in the UK and possibly one of the best in the world. It is superb. From 6.30am to noon Monday to Friday you do not. The problem is that I want to listen in the morning. I want to hear a mix of music which has been carefully selected to teach, challenge and also entertain and I want it presented in the manner which is distinctive of R3. Instead from 6.30 to 9.00 we get bland "relaxing music" with wittering in between each piece. From 9.00 we start to get some good music and a bit less wittering but is still not R3. You have shown that you and your team can deliver excellence for 18.5 hours each day. Why, o why do you have to go down market for the other 5.5 hours and produce something which sub-standard and at a time which is primetime for R3?

  • Comment number 21.

    I really like Sara Mohr-Pietsch- she has a nice relaxed manner,interacts well with the audience and is appropriately knowledgeable. However, there is definitely too much news with the additional short bulletins every 15 minutes. Roger Wright doesn't mention these. And while I don't mind occasional references to the papers when there's something relevant, please spare us the snippets from the Daily Mail.

  • Comment number 22.

    Roger Wright's justification, on Feedback, for these relentless news summaries (if I remember correctly) is that there is a significant overlap between audiences for Radios 3 and 4, and that those listening to the former might appreciate some indication of what they might find being discussed on the latter.

    Well, I'm part of that overlap and I don't appreciate it at all, quite the opposite in fact, but no doubt the research shows me to be in a sad minority.

    Nevertheless, I assume RW has brokered a fair and just reciprocal arrangement with Radio 4, which will henceforth be giving me 15 minute updates on what delights I might encounter on Radio 3 if I switch over.

    Because that's the only way I would accept such a risible justification.

  • Comment number 23.

    I have regretfully given up on Radio 3 in the mornings. I would like to hear music of some quality and substance with short informative introductions, as in Through the Night. Instead, we have short random pieces, and endless irritating chatter from ersatz disc jockeys, along with the growing intrusion of jazz and songs from musicals. Bring back the Third Program. Please.

  • Comment number 24.

    I find the new Radio 3 schedule has too much speech, POV and jarring programming so, regretfully, I switch over to Radio Bartok and Swiss Klassic, to escape. These stations are easily available on Internet radio.

    Now, wouldn't it be wonderful if we had *Radio 3 Extra* that played the schedule from 20 years ago?

  • Comment number 25.

    kevincobb jazz is decreasing on R3 in both amount of time and quality of programming .... jazz was on the Third Programme long before R3 ....

  • Comment number 26.

    How utterly spurious comparing Friday then with a Sunday schedule now!

    Everyone know that the Radio 2.5 weekday mornings are a cacophony of trailers for other shows, the risible 'your (yoof?) call', prattling faux celibridees, news bites and playing of bleeding-chunks CFM style.

    My morning listening is now Through the Night on Listen Again or Radio Swiss Classic, Bayern 4 Klassik etc.

  • Comment number 27.

    The real question is how does Radio 3 survive at a time when the political agenda leads inexorably towards a break up of the BBC so that the best bits can be sold off to friendly media moguls. Small, specialised audiences will have to pay independently for what they want. Callow and spineless submission in the face of unrealistic licence fee freezes will in future be seen as complicit in this downfall.

  • Comment number 28.

    As someone who has listened to and loved Radio 3 since 1960 I felt extremely disappointed and let down to hear Roger Wright's rosy stained-glass view of the morning schedule on Radio 3 on Radio 4's Feedback. Firstly if I want to hear the news I would go to Radio 4. Secondly, I do not find the refulgent patronising flood of waffle from Petroc Trelawny "bliss" as RW would have it: I find it insulting to the composers whose music is served up in blood-stained chunks and to the listeners whom the producers seem to assume want their music played as some kind of shagpile rug into which they can cosily roll up.

    It is quite possible for presenters to be friendly and hold their audiences without turning the programmes into the Ant and Dec Breakfast Show with these cheap phone-ins and chats with minor celebs, cuddly gimmicks and Ronald MacDonaldry.. Heavens! The channel is supposed to be saving money not paying yet more high expenses to chefs and the like. There are some excellent and friendly presenters: Donald MacLeod, Martin Handley, Iain Burnside, Mary King and Catherine Bott spring to mind. They are knowledgeable and enthusiastic. There are others whose gushing "this wonderful" or "that amazing piece of music" style is clearly turning Radio 3 into a CfM clone. Except for concerts and plays that I specifically choose to hear I now either play CDs or download excellent radio channels from Europe and the USA rather than listen to BBC Radio 3.

    As with Kevin Cobb and aka Calum Da Jazbo I feel that Jazz is treated as an item that can be pushed around the schedules, half left out, even left out altogether if the time is right and generally be treated as some kind of lower class entity.

    Finally, I find the quality of sound of the music played live and recorded on BBC Radio 3 has deteriorated markedly in the past two or three years with no clarity at the top of the spectrum and concentrating too much on bass effects in the manner of pop music. I feared at first that my hearing had weakened but and a recent hearing test shows I can almost hear bats and that my hearing is excellent. Talking regularly with my music loving friends confirms my suspicions about BBC Radio 3's narrow bandwidths: they all find the sound quality has deteriorated.

  • Comment number 29.

    The Radio 3 listener is, of course, deeply reviled by the Hoxton metrosexuals who have the whip-hand at the BBC. Horribly pale, horribly male, wrong side of 35, home counties, reactionaries all!

  • Comment number 30.

    I think it's appalling you've all but axed Discovering Music. Its in-depth view really started me out seriously appreciating classical music a decade back. If you get rid of these avenues into serious music the ClassicFM approach is all that will be left. The interval talks are all well and good, but the full length programme is essential to the schedule.

  • Comment number 31.

    Gareth Mallone has just commented on Saturday Classics that he prefers this boy's voice to 'a soprano warbling'. If you're looking for cuts here's one who could go straight away

  • Comment number 32.

    I don't know whether Mr Wright was being deliberately obtuse when dismissing the perfectly reasonable point being made by the Feedback correspondent regarding the inclusion of non-musical celebrities, by asserting that it was nothing to do with their celebrity.

    Okay, let me try where Roger Bolton chose not to: What is the procedure for myself -- yes me (or any of the other non-celebrity music lovers commenting here for that matter) to get on the list to be included on one of these slots? Do we write in to you? Is there a form somewhere?

    I thought not.

  • Comment number 33.

    From the Controller's Monthly Note, October:

    "The Breakfast programme, now presented by Petroc Trelawny and Sara Mohr-Pietsch, is eliciting a good deal of listener response. If you want to request a particular piece of music, do get in touch with Your Call. You will have the chance to appear on Breakfast and hear the piece played. We have been flooded with ideas and messages and there is obviously an appetite to interact with the programmes. It is really gratifying to see messages from new listeners to our morning programmes. If you want to be in touch, please contact the programme by email at 3breakfast at bbc dot co dot uk, or via the Radio 3 Facebook page."

    Join the Radio 3 Forum https://www.for3.org/forums/
    Support FoR3 https://www.for3.org/contact/contact.php
    Read FoR3 in the Guardian:

  • Comment number 34.

    Following each comment is "complain about this comment"
    Is this a ploy to ensure there is no opposition to the Controller's views?
    Clearly there is a lot of opposition, so why no "support this comment" ?

  • Comment number 35.

    A significant difference with the 1991 schedule is that Morning Concert would have been presented in a gentle and unassuming manner by the likes of Tony Scotland, Peter Barker, Malcolm Ruthven or Susan Sharpe. There'd have been no regular exhortations to phone in or tweet or e-mail; no crass associations between a piece by Debussy and a caravanning holiday; no endless trails for other programmes; and no attempts to make the listener's mind up for them by gushing about how 'wonderful' or 'stunning' a piece of music was.

    As a (still just) teenager in 1991, and with very little musical education, I never found the old Radio 3 anything but accessible. In fact it was a blissful oasis: a station that respected its listeners' intelligence. Some parts of it - and a number of its presenters (often those shifted into graveyard slots like Through The Night) - are still excellent. But its Breakfast has become indigestible.

  • Comment number 36.

    Having just listened to Feedback, I wonder if Roger Wright actually knows what a Radio 3 listener is? His responses were patronising and even arrogant. I was one of the 139 people who e-mailed in but my views (and all the friends I spoke for) obviously count for nought.

    Well, Mr Wright, time will tell and perhaps one essential saving at the BBC will be your salary when the Radio 3 listener numbers crash (again).

    As for me, like many long-term Radio 3 listeners, I have given up listening to the inane prattle of Z-list celebs and self-seeking tweeters, and crank up the iTunes instead.

  • Comment number 37.

    I have already made my comments directly both to Petroc and Sarah, to the extent that i have virtually stopped listening to Breakfast - and this as a regular since the Third Programme - because of the amount of chatter and news.
    But i have to take Roger Wright to task for not comparing like with like in his listings for a Friday in 1991 and last Sunday. The Sunday presenters ( Martin Handley, e.g.) are quite different in their approach to the new ways.

  • Comment number 38.

    I am concerned about the cuts to Radio 3 programmes. As a fan of Early Music, including Baroque opera, I particularly value the Early Music programmes, including the Early Music show. Both Lucie Skeaping and Catherine Bott are excellent and knowledgeable presenters. Recent programmes I have enjoyed have been Handel's Saul and tonight's concert with Iestyn Davies, Mahan Esfahani and Phantasm. Programmes like this set Radio 3 in the class of their own and should be nurtured.

  • Comment number 39.

    When Gorecki's rather wonderful 3rd symphony came to prominence a few years ago, a cut down 11 minute version was used for American radio audiences, this apparently being the limit of their listening ability. Radio 3 is going the same way. Criticism of the decline of the morning programmes into dumbed down chat shows abounds, but the smug and arrogant powers that be assume that they know best, and take no notice of the opinions of genuine music lovers. When they have driven most of their audience away, the BBC may use this as justification to close Radio 3 down.

  • Comment number 40.

    I like many others here listen to Radio 3 not Radio 4 so I was not aware of the need to register my dislike of the new changes to Feedback. Perhaps they should repeat the exercise, this time advertising the fact on Radio 3!!
    However, despite the nice words used by Roger Wright, most informed people know that the changes made are dumming down the station and that the content and style is moving towards CFM. This is unfortunate, but is not unusual today as peoples time span gets increasingly short. Likewise the addition of so called celebrities. Frankly who cares what they think, they get far too much media space elsewhere already. Even if the Queen was featured, it would not make it any more worthy of inclusion.

    Radio 3 should be challenging, thought provoking, interesting, educational as well as entertaining. Quality programming for serious minded people should not be considered elitist. (I know the BBC has a problem with being attacked by the tabloids about this and therefore run scared at the mere whiff of this)
    There is no question that the changes have been made to make the station more popular and get the audience figures up. I do have a problem with this, why not play Take That & Lady Gaga, introduced by Simon Cowell or Cheryl Cole and be done with it once and for all. The BBC should not be about chasing ratings, leave this for the commercial stations, quality must be the benchmark of success.

    Finally, it would be nice to get some kind of response from Roger Wright to all the comments above. I know this is too much to expect but I can live in hope.

    Anyway, back to my CD's.

  • Comment number 41.

    I am a big fan of Radio 3 and I live in a small fishing village in Fife where there is no radio reception. The only way I can hear Radio 3 is through FREEVIEW. In June the BBC made a choice that in order to let us hear Gaelic programmes on Radio Alba we would no longer be able to hear Radio 3 after 5pm. I suppose I should be pleased that I still have it during the day but I genuinely feel a greivous loss. No longer can I listen to Opera on 3 Peter Grimes while looking out over the fishing grounds off the May Island. Needless to say I can't speak Gaelic becuase I am a lowlander. Please do something to help this poor licence fee payer.

  • Comment number 42.

    Most_Bloated (comment 20) has I think hit the nail on the head, and has asked the question that is still awaiting a satisfactory answer. I am profoundly grateful to Radio 3 for its excellent output for most of the day and weekend. And, as someone whose listening can mainly be done in the mornings, am profoundly grateful for the 'breakfast time' music that I used to love. Now bereaved of this important part of my day and life (because Breakfast has become unlistenable to) I am another who asks why o why etc. Off the top of my head, a few questions would be:

    - Does it matter if a BBC radio station attracts a relatively small number of listeners, if it can be persuasively argued (as it certainly can) that the content is excellent in quality - something that can exist like a beacon for new as well as old listeners?

    - What is the logic behind the (unspoken but blatantly evident) assumption that tweets, witterings, sighs over fabulous arias, constant repetitions of chart-topping celeb composers, references to classical music on TV ads etc will draw in and retain new listeners ? - let alone ease them into the more challenging musical content elsewhere in the schedule? Is this being systematically researched and monitored? I'd have thought that the spontaneous roar of protest provoked by these incompetent changes should give even the most thick-skinned schedulers pause. It is disingenous to assume that 139 emails represent only 139 dissatisfied listeners. People who write in are always the tip of the iceberg.

    I am not a reactionary conservative who is nostalgaic for the third programme (whatever that was) - as it appears that protesters are sometimes dismissively characterised. I am someone who discovered Radio 3 as a haven in the mornings, and whose musical education has been formed and extended by the morning programmes. I'm afraid that if I had tuned into the current 'Breakfast', I would just have switched off - as I do now.


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