As part of the BBC’s wider commitment to better serving audiences around the UK and basing more staff outside the capital, Radio 3 aims to strengthen significantly its production and leadership base in Salford, while maintaining a strong presence in London. It will also relocate the BBC Concert Orchestra to a region of England currently underserved by the orchestral sector.
Creating an epicentre for Radio 3 in Salford and adding a new location to its provision of live orchestral music in England will enable Radio 3 and the BBC to bring its work closer to audiences everywhere, further reflect the rich and vibrant classical music and cultural scene of the whole of the UK, and enhance its ability to build stronger connections with communities, artists, talent, creative organisations and audiences around the country.
It will also build on Radio 3’s existing role as a truly national station; more than 30% of its current spending – including on both speech and live music programmes – is outside London through the work of the BBC’s Orchestras & Choirs in Cardiff, Glasgow, Belfast and Salford, and through partnerships with other orchestras and ensembles, festivals, venues, creative organisations and independent production companies around the country.
BBC Radio 3 will increase the broadcast hours produced in Salford to over 50%, with some programmes and staff moving there from 2023, completing the transition by 2026. Live music in the capital will remain central to the schedule and some programmes will continue to be made there, with a significant number of broadcast hours continuing to come from London. The remainder, as now, will come from Radio 3’s production centres in Cardiff, Glasgow and Belfast.
The BBC Concert Orchestra, which turns 70 in 2022, will relocate to a location outside the M25 bringing live music to underserved areas of England and developing innovative models of engaging audiences with orchestral music. It will be rooted in a community, focus on supporting new and diverse talent and building strong foundations for its future. Discussions are ongoing with a possible location and there will be announcements in due course.
Radio 3’s presenters will continue to present from numerous bases, as they do now, and new talent and skills will be developed in Salford, while Radio 3’s depth of expertise in production will be maintained elsewhere. BBC Radio 3’s Controller will have a presence in both Salford and London as part of their significant leadership role in the classical music industry and responsibility for the BBC’s Orchestras & Choirs, BBC Proms and BBC East Bank.
Radio 3’s role in London – a world-renowned international centre for classical music with major venues, artistic organisations and artists based there and visiting – will continue. Some key programmes will continue to be made and presented there, and Radio 3 will continue to broadcast live concerts and events from the capital. Brand-new studios currently under construction at East Bank, a new creative cultural quarter being developed on the site of the former Olympic Park site in East London, will provide a new purpose-built base for the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus and the BBC Singers, which are already extending their learning and education activities into the area.
The BBC Proms will always be associated with London’s iconic Royal Albert Hall and remain based there. However, the BBC will create more Proms activity outside London, beginning with the 2022 season.
Alan Davey, Controller BBC Radio 3, said: “BBC Radio 3 is recognised as a global leader in cultural broadcasting, at the forefront of the classical music and arts industries in the UK. With music and speech content already coming from different corners of the UK, we can go further. By rooting ourselves in the North we can continue to lead and develop music and culture in the whole of the UK, connecting with vibrant classical music and culture of more cities and towns and extending our partnerships with different communities and creative organisations. We can go on supporting established and emerging talent and create programming that’s richer and more relevant to all our audiences. We want to bring the country and the world’s greatest music closer to everyone and support cultural curiosity and discovery across geography, race and class.”
Andrew Connolly, Director, BBC Concert Orchestra, said:“To bring the skill, ingenuity and sheer love of orchestral music that the BBC Concert Orchestra are famed for to a new area of the UK is a significant moment in our history. Rethinking how we embed an orchestra in a community, and the possibilities that brings, is hugely ambitious and very exciting.”
Might not the money spent on such relocationing be better used to improve the quality and content of Radio 3’s programming? How are such fundamental geographical changes going to lead to better broadcasts? A few scripted, edited and properly produced talks on music might be a start. Should Scotland gain independence next year, to where will the BBC Scottish Symphony relocate? Berwick-on-Tweed? Carlisle?
I’m a little confused. Isn’t the BBC PO located in Salford? Or have I missed something? Is this move preparatory to merging the BBC PO and the BBC Concert Orchestra, I wonder? I realise I’m a bit out on a limb here in the extreme SE – part of that region known geographically in the media as ‘Londonandthesoutheast’.
To extract from the above press release: “The BBC Concert Orchestra, which turns 70 in 2022, will relocate to a location outside the M25 bringing live music to underserved areas of England and developing innovative models of engaging audiences with orchestral music. It will be rooted in a community, focus on supporting new and diverse talent and building strong foundations for its future. Discussions are ongoing with a possible location and there will be announcements in due course.”
I don’t care where Radio 3 broadcasts from. I just want an end to all these prattling announcers giving us critiques on the music before it is broadcast and then telling us afterwards how marvellous it was. I can make up my own mind!