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?”