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BBC Radio 3 announces major new Salford moves

Classical programming is heading North

BBC Radio 3 is to strengthen its classical music roots in Salford, creating a new hub for classical music broadcasting in the North of England.

As part of the BBC’s ambitious Across the UK strategy, BBC Radio 3 today confirmed a raft of programme moves to Salford as the network strengthens its base there. This supports the BBC’s vision to create a UK-wide classical music hub in the North, maximising new partnerships and opportunities, reaching out to new audiences and diversifying voices heard on the station.

As a result, by 2024/25 at least 50 per cent of production hours for BBC Radio 3 will be from Salford. In addition to this Radio 3 move, Simon Webb – recently announced as the BBC’s first head of orchestras and choirs – will be based there from January 2023, and the yet-to-be-announced incoming controller of Radio 3 and BBC Proms will spend their time across both the London and Salford bases.

Alan Davey, controller of BBC Radio 3, said: “Strengthening Radio 3’s roots in the North of England will ensure the station holds its place at the forefront of leading and developing classical music and culture for the whole of the country. We hope to support and develop a wider pool of established and emerging talent, and build new partnerships with communities in the North as well as with the wider classical music industry.”

A total of eight programmes will move their production from London to Salford by Autumn 2024: Music Matters, Jazz Record Requests, Essential Classics, Through the Night and Sunday Breakfast. The Listening Service and Afternoon Concert – both already partly based in Salford – will move the entirety of their production and Words and Music will also increase its Salford production. Some programmes made by independent producers, such as Unclassified have already made the move.

Alan Williams, a professor of collaborative composition at the University of Salford said: “The announcement that BBC Radio 3 is creating a UK-wide classical music hub in the North, and that 50 per cent of its production hours will come from Salford, is unequivocally good news for Salford, the city region, and the north of England more generally. Our staff and students are involved in innovative music and music technology projects across the city region, and we look forward to the opportunities for more creative collaboration that this move will bring.”

Radio 3 will continue to commission from a range of suppliers in different parts of the UK.

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