Classic FM to target Radio 4

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The Independent Online
CLASSIC FM, the first national commercial radio station, signalled yesterday that it would make a determined attempt to capture listeners from BBC Radio 4 when it starts broadcasting on 7 September, writes Michael Leapman.

Two of its first four regular presenters are Radio 4 favourites, including Margaret Howard, who presented the popular anthology Pick of the Week until she was replaced last year amid protests from her admirers. She has twice been named radio personality of the year in the Sony awards.

On Classic FM, she will present an hour-long compendium of news, music and arts at 6pm daily. Another Radio 4 alumnus is the Irishman Henry Kelly, who has presented Midweek and appeared in the panel game Just a Minute. He will compere the new station's morning show, while Adrian Love, formerly of Radio 2, will have the late-night spot and Susannah Simons, a radio and television current affairs specialist, will be in charge from noon to 2pm.

Michael Bukht, the station's programme controller, said he expected 37 per cent of listeners to be drawn from Radio 4 and only 24 per cent from Radio 3, hitherto assumed to be its chief competitor. Classic FM plans a more popular approach than Radio 3.

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