Media: Talk of the Trade: Classic challenge

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The Independent Online
IT IS to be hoped that Classic FM's success in the latest Radio Joint Audience Research figures does not cause Radio 3 to panic. Classic FM now has 4.48 million listeners a week and Radio 3 2.8 million. In response to the figures, Classic FM has raised its advertising rates by 25 per cent from this week.

If Radio 3, which has introduced a number of successful changes since Nicholas Kenyon took over, is searching for a more distinct identity to counter this challenge, its current 1968 season is a bizarre way of going about it.

Last week it featured Melvyn Bragg talking about the recording of the Animals' version of 'House of the Rising Sun'. Not only has this nothing to do with classical music, speech or drama, it also has nothing to do with 1968. The song was recorded in 1964.

A Radio 3 spokesman says the series is looking at 'major drama and music from the year 1968, which is 25 years ago, plus additional feature material with a wider remit. We're looking at the whole ethos which sowed the seeds for 1968.' Not the stuff to make Classic FM tremble.

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