Ed Vaizey, our Culture Minister, likes the radio station Classic FM because it’s so ‘accessible and informal’. He never listens to BBC Radio 3, though that hasn’t stopped him offering an opinion on its future, which he suggests should be digital-only.
While Ed’s been listening to Mozart’s greatest hits over breakfast, enlivened with a sprinkling of insurance company adverts, he will not have noticed that Radio 3’s morning show has itself become more accessible in the last few years – some even say too much so. It’s all part and parcel of a modernising spruce-up which took place a couple of years ago and changed the feel of the presentation style (and schedule) of this gem in the public service radio crown, a piece of our cultural heritage which commercial radio can never truly rival.
If he only tries it, Ed will find nothing to scare him on Radio 3 between 6.30am and 9am on a weekday morning. I’ll wager that he’ll enjoy it. Every piece played, which might be a whole small-scale work or a movement taken from a concerto or symphony or chamber sonata, is fairly short. Much of the output will be familiar, and he can even tweet comments to the studio for Petroc Trelawny or whoever is hosting that morning to read out on air.
Of course, Ed can groove to whatever breakfast show he chooses. But I do have this plea to make: don’t maroon Radio 3 in digital land. There have been times when I’ve taken a little FM radio outside to listen to ‘Private Passions’ (a Sunday variant on Desert Island Discs) while painting a shed.