Letter: Radio 3 sharpens its schedule

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Sir: The proposals which the Controller of Radio 3 and his team announced last month are just that: proposals, which are currently the subject of discussion with programme producers around the country. From these discussions and the programme offers that are received during the autumn will come the final programmes which will be communicated to the listeners with all the means at our disposal.

Behind the proposals, and James Boyle's proposals for Radio 4 ("It's a longer Today for you and your Radio 4 listeners", 31 July) lies a thorough and meticulous review of BBC Radio which started last autumn. The basis of that review was the views of our listeners, our programme makers and a sophisticated understanding of the changes in society which affect how people listen to radio.

Our commitment to Radio 3 as a provider of classical music in a rich cultural context is unchanged, as is the commitment to over half its music output being live or specially recorded. We entirely agree with Bayan Northcott (Tabloid; "Core values", 1 August) that Radio 3 is vital "as a funder of orchestras, as a commissioner of new works, as major focus and patron of the classical music life of this country". It will remain so for the future.

But Radio 3 listeners themselves tell us that its schedule does not always match their listening requirements and, despite some changes, it is still difficult for them to know when to find the programmes they want. Radio 3 is entirely right in wanting to clarify and sharpen its schedule, so that both existing and potential listeners can find their way around it more easily. I am confident that the developments Radio 3 has proposed will enable the network to have a continuing, central place in the cultural life of the UK.

MATTHEW BANNISTER

Director BBC Radio

BBC

London W1

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