Scala Radio

I appreciate that "accessible" is where the advertising money is, and that we have only two UK classical stations, but what we need is more Radio 3, not more Classic FM. What we needed was a Classical 6 Music. Instead, we are getting Scala Radio.

Radio Today: Bauer to launch classical station Scala Radio (21 Jan 2019)

Classic FM is extremely repetitive. If you think a playlist-based rock/pop/dance station such as Radio 1, Radio 2 or Heart has a limited playlist, that's nothing compared to Classic FM. I often joke that Classic FM only has twelve CDs, which is a bit of an exaggeration, but not much. Even outside their "Hall of Fame" programme, they stick fairly rigidly to their listener-voted top 300, at least in terms of composers, and even in the off-peak programming such as evenings, there is very little new beyond movie soundtracks (e.g. Clint Poppie) - a habit which is only going to be more prevalent on Scala with the inclusion of a lengthy weekend programme from Mark Kermode (of whom I otherwise have a godlike opinion, and hello to Jason Isaacs).

Once you've got beyond the basics of being able to identify the popular composers of history - Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Handel, Rachmaninov, Grieg, Holst, Elgar, probably a list of no more than 50 and, apart from Clint, Karl Jenkins and John bloody Williams, all dead - there really isn't much to be gained from listening to a "pop classics" station beyond being able to hum along. It's not even like pop radio, where you get to hear different, new releases. Heck, even Radio 2 plays more new music.

The big problem with this is that classic music isn't just something from history. There are thousands of modern composers, from the predominantly American avant-garde stuff of the pre-war 20th century to some remarkably hum-able recent stuff from Europe and South America.

And I don't know who they are.

And I'm never going to find out from Scala or Classic FM.

Radio 3 has a good try at this, but amongst airing new orchestral pieces, it also has to deal with a whole slew of other stuff that's been shoehorned in after getting dropped from Radio 2, Radio 4 and even Radio 4 Extra and 6 Music- jazz, experimental electronica, and godawful poetry for starters.

I actually quite like Radio 3's jazz and electronica, but that's not the point; the point is, there isn't enough exposure of modern classical music on the radio, and Scala isn't going to improve this.

The most likely place to hear new composers on commercial classical radio was Classic FM's infrequent video games music show. Thank-you Jessica "Everybody's Gone To The Rapture" Curry for those twelve short episodes.

Classic FM - High Score with Jessica Curry (Nov 2018)

Much as I like Simon Mayo, the thought of Classical Confessions leaves me cold, although LTL FTE and down with the Nazis.

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Public Domain - Andrew Oakley - 2019-01-22

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