Letter: Classic FM's serious approach

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The Independent Online
From Mr John Spearman

Sir: I have listened to Radio 3 since I was a child. I regard it with a mixture of great affection and periodic irritation. The latter is usually provoked by the disappearance of programmes I particularly enjoyed, such as the Morning Concert and Music Weekly. It is because of this that I feel considerable sympathy for Nicholas Kenyon, the controller of Radio 3.

It seems to me that he is the victim of the ambivalent attitude of a wide cross-section of listeners, including myself. There is understanding, if not enthusiasm, for his desire to increase the audience of Radio 3, but also deep reservations among listeners about the method, particularly if it impinges on their personal affections. It is difficult or him to win.

But I must now take issue with a comment of Mr Kenyon's ("From where I stand: Nicholas Kenyon", 17 October). He described Classic FM as an "excellent commercial service with no responsibility to musical life other than to deliver listeners to advertisers". This is simply untrue.

Classic FM takes its responsibility very seriously. We seek to promote the enjoyment and appreciation of serious music by all ages and across all sections of the community. Classic encourages young musicians by providing broadcast platforms to reflect their music, lives and careers. The Classic Charitable Trust raises funds for music education, while we maintain close links with all the national orchestras, particularly the Royal Philharmonic, which receives substantial direct and indirect financial support through its association with the station.

We are continually seeking opportunities to entertain and enlighten our audiences with performances they may not have heard before, but which might delight them.

Yours sincerely,

John Spearman

Chief Executive

Classic FM

London, NW1

18 October