Music Australia News

Radio Adelaide confirms axing of classical and jazz programs

Graham Strahle
| August 1, 2016

Radio Adelaide has confirmed that it will no longer run classical and jazz programs. Formerly the community radio station aired classical and jazz shows in its weekday morning timeslot, but these will go when the station relaunches itself from new city premises “in coming days”.

The decision sparked vociferous protest from station workers, with claims that they have not been consulted, and that the move will place Radio Adelaide’s community broadcasting licence in jeopardy.

However, Radio Adelaide’s General Manager Rob Popplestone has affirmed that the changes will go ahead. “It is true that Classical Music has been cut from its Monday to Friday programmed time of 9-11am,” he told Music Australia. “Radio Adelaide do intend to offer an alternative time(s) for Classical in the near future, but it is true to say that it will be scaled back.”

Popplestone maintains the changes to programming were made in consultation with “existing and previous Radio Adelaide staff, existing and previous Radio Adelaide volunteers, a number of other Community Radio General Managers, Commercial Radio contacts and members of the general community”.

One of the major concerns among volunteer staff is that by dropping classical music, Radio Adelaide’s ability to support the local music scene will severely hit. For many years its broadcasts of concert recordings and interviews with performers have formed the backbone of its Classical Connection weekday morning show.

Popplestone has offered one ray of hope, saying that “Live recordings could continue to be considered” for broadcast.

But it looks unlikely that live recordings will figure anywhere near as prominently as they have in the past. Speaking about the place of classical and jazz at Radio Adelaide, Popplestone earlier told InDaily that both these genres have attracted “a narrow silo of public interest”, and that other radio stations already cater for them, including ABC Classic FM and 5MBS.

A former TV and radio sports broadcaster, Popplestone was appointed head of Radio Adelaide in June, at a time when the station had begun its transition from ownership by the University of Adelaide to becoming an independent station.

Part of that transition involves its relocation to new studios at Adelaide’s community youth radio station Fresh 92.7. Delays in the move have meant Radio Adelaide has been broadcasting pre-recorded programs on a rolling basis.

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