Right of Reply: Roger Lewis

Classic FM's managing director responds to claims by Nicholas Kenyon that the radio station underestimates the British public
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The Independent Culture
The 1999 Proms programme is admirable: a celebration of Beethoven, Brahms and Mozart and a concert dedicated to music from the movies. There's a nice compilation CD on sale, too. It features extracts from Sibelius's Symphony No 5, Beethoven's Fifth and Holst's The Planets.

Movie Music. Compilation CDs. Well, all very Classic FM, but funded with a million-pound budget of public money - by the BBC.

Despite BBC brickbats about understating the public's tastes, Classic FM continues to plough its singular furrow, fully conscious of its responsibilities. Introduction, accessibility, education and entertainment lie at our core. Our work in the field of music education went a considerable way towards earning yet another Sony award nomination. Our continuing appeal to a growing audience of under-14s has prompted the Government to explore areas with its own youth music trust and Classic FM.

This month alone, Classic FM launches the search for Music Teacher of the Year, will sponsor the inaugural Education Award of the Royal Philharmonic Society and will broadcast its Salisbury's Youth Orchestra initiative. Programme changes promise to enhance the breadth of our music output and further enrich the listener experience. They include an ambitious, 13- part Music of the Millennium showcase. We also launch our concerts division with 12 live events around the country. More than 5 million people a week access classical music through Classic FM. At long last, at the end of this century, a relationship with a mass audience has been created for the art form. This surely should be complimented, supported and celebrated.