Is London’s BBC Radio 3 adapting to less-cultured audiences?

Posted on: April 20, 2015

“Running BBC Radio 3 is more difficult today than in the past because audiences are not as well educated, claims the classical music station’s new controller,” write Gregory Walton and David Barrett in Saturday’s (4/18) Daily Telegraph (London). “Alan Davey risked alienating some listeners by making the controversial suggestion when asked about the challenges of the job. In an interview on Radio 4’s Feedback programme, Mr. Davey was questioned about changes to classical music knowledge over the past 30 years. ‘If you look back at the Third Programme [launched in 1946 and later succeeded by Radio 3], they were bringing high culture to a relatively mass audience but they could assume that their audience knew everything,’ the controller said. ‘They did not need to have the ins and outs of classical music explained to them…. We have to perhaps offer more explanation and context for works. It’s not lowering the standard, it’s not making the content simple. It’s about how we present it.’ Mr. Davey, 54, who until January was chief executive of Arts Council England, added: ‘I believe there are different ways to draw people into music…. We’ll be presenting more longer pieces and greater variety of composers, and we also provide the additional different kinds of music and the cultural commentary throughout.’ ”

Posted April 20, 2015