TV & Radio

Aug 29, 2014

Radio without a host? It’s just not as classy, say listeners

Is a host the only difference between radio and a mixtape? That's a question many of Classic FM's staff and listeners are asking after the ABC radio station switched up its overnight programming in early August.

Myriam Robin — Media Reporter

Myriam Robin

Media Reporter

For years, from midnight to 6am, Classic FM has aired a program called All Night Classics. These broadcasts, of which there were hundreds, were pre-recorded, with an announcer introducing and explaining the music. They were reused and repeated — the content was timeless. But now they’re gone — replaced by what’s airing on Classic 2, ABC Classic’s new online channel, which airs short classical tracks performed by Australian artists. Classic 2, which is aimed at a younger audience and was launched in June, has no hosts, and the tracks are not announced. Online listeners can see what track is playing, but radio listeners need to look up the track list online.

The change has been controversial. When it was announced, Classic FM’s Facebook page was flooded with complaints, and now staff at the station have begun to raise their concerns. In a series of emails sent to all ABC Classic staff, and obtained by Crikey, many vent their frustrations at what they see as a retrograde and concerning development. No staff have been made redundant due to the changes (regular All Night Classics host Bob Maynard still works at Classic FM, and many of the other All Night Classics hosts had already left the ABC some time ago, though their voices could still be heard on the recordings). But many fear what they see as a concerning new development. “[A] quarter of our broadcast day now voiceless,” one staff member wrote. “If a quarter of the day can be Classic 2, what’s to stop it being a third, a half, the whole?”

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4 thoughts on “Radio without a host? It’s just not as classy, say listeners

  1. wayne robinson

    I usually listen to ABC Classic, but I often turn to something else. When the presenter is talking twaddle (often happens). Or I don’t like the music played. So I often listen to ABC Classic 2. Or Classic 102 (which is a German Internet station without presenters – I’m currently listening to it and Bruckner’s 9 [I think]). Worse come to worse, I’ll listen to a CD.

    Actually I like Classic 2.

  2. Gavin Moodie

    I prefer having performance details online: they should be fuller than presented on air, one can refresh one’s memory of forgotten details, and one can find out what’s playing if one tunes in during a performance. And as Wayne notes, presenters’ chatter is often tiresome.

    But the online music stations I know play only movements – never the whole work. I find this unsatisfying and eventually immensely annoying.

  3. Peter Bleby

    A very fine alternative is 5mbs99.9fm in Adelaide, or streaming on ( “Live Streaming” on the home page). They have all night classics, hosted with minimal talk, and playing only complete works. Excellent!

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