Letter: New music shunned

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Roger Wright ("Radio 3's new agenda, 20 July) reveals the complacency of BBC Radio 3 with regard to its role as potential patron and sponsor of new music and radio drama.

An analysis of a typical week's output (week beginning 17 July) reveals only seven hours devoted to new music, a token 4 per cent of broadcast time. That this is the case now the station broadcasts 24 hours per day is not only astonishing but scandalous.

What Mr Wright does not attend to is the concern felt by those frustrated by the unaccountability that characterises decision-making at Radio 3: accusations of nostalgic hysteria do nothing to answer these concerns.

With radio 3 as the only broadcast source of information in the UK about contemporary music, the influence such decision-making has upon the course of new music and its appreciation is substantial. Only a radical increase in time allocated to new music will remove the distortions which characterise this monopoly. That this is unlikely is indicative of the station's capitulation to populist and market-oriented agendas, a situation Mr Wright's routine recitation of statistics will do nothing to change.

Dr GORDON DOWNIE

Contemporary Music Ensemble of Wales

Radyr, South Glamorgan

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