Invited onto an online panel by the European Broadcasting Union, I eagerly agreed. Great still to be in ‘European’ anything. Happily this organisation with 115 member organisations in 56 countries has (like its well-known offshoot the Eurovision Song Contest) a fairly free idea of who is European.
In the EBU (warning, acronym alert) the UK is represented by the BBC and STV, and looking down the international list, these are all the main, consolidated national broadcasters, so none of your Reprezent Radio Brixton and so on. As a result it was interesting to hear my fellow panellists (from Belgium, Portugal, Sweden) grapple with the topic of ‘Presenting New Music in General Classical Radio Programmes.’
I gradually came to realise that our national broadcaster and its classical outlet, BBC Radio 3, is comparatively speaking amongst the most adventurous. An extensive recent example, Postcards from Composers, featured BBC Concert Orchestra musicians, under-employed in the first Covid lockdown. These often quite radical and cutting edge miniatures were slipped into BBC Breakfast with apparent positive appreciation from the station’s most easy-listening audience. Next time I’m tempted to start moaning about our national broadcaster, I’ll focus instead on our relative good fortune in broadcast musical terms.
Pictured – Britain, not always as boring as we think ( = the brilliant installation currently covering Tate Britain, by Chila Kumari Singh Burman, reimagining Britannia as the goddess Kali.)