Listening to classical music on popular radio is very much hit and miss, in fact many countries around the world do not have any classical radio programs whatsoever. And there are others such as Britain and America that have some first-rate classical music radio stations and the following are five of the very best.
BBC Radio 3
BBC Radio 3 is popular all over the world, and it is one of the oldest and most respected classical stations that exists. Radio 3 is not afraid of taking its classical music seriously, and the biggest benefit is that there are no annoying commercials that interrupt the middle of a symphony, or even a live performance. One of the most popular programs is the composer of the week, which is not actually one program but a week long focus on a chosen composer. Radio 3 can also be listened up to one week after it was first aired.
This Seattle station is lister-supported so just like Radio 3 it is commercial free. King FM is what would be described as a decaff classical station in that is not as serious as Radio 3 and lacks the depth of analysis. That said King FM airs some brilliant music and is presented in a popular but clean format. A great feature is the minute-by-minute playlist.
WCPE has been broadcasting in North Carolina for thirty years and plays non-stop music. What this means is there are no analytical programs or historical ones. So, whenever you tune in, you are guaranteed to hear music and not just a debate. The themed features are a great little addition, as the music played will all be somehow connected to a chosen theme. These themes change regularly, and it is great to try and work out the theme whilst listening to the music.
We return to Britain to a London based radio station, Classic FM. It is quite different to the more highbrow Radio 3 as the broadcasters present classical music in a popular way. The station was developed as a way to introduce classical music to the masses and it succeeds on every count. There is a selected play-list that features all day long on the numerous programs, and there is no or very little analytical comment. Just great music being played all day long. This is our first station featured that has commercials, but they are in tune to the station’s philosophy and not too intrusive.
For our last radio station we travel to Cincinnati to listen to WGUC FM. This station is part of the national public radio program of America, and their streaming is in high definition. It has a great kid’s program and another top feature is composers datebook. The music policy is a mix of great classics and some modern pieces, but the music is interrupted annoyingly by commercials that are announced by the presenters.
These five great classical radio stations lead the way in keeping this great form of music firmly in the public domain and with easy access.