25 Years of Classic FM

Sep 2017  RadioWorks Blog

This Thursday, 7th September marks 25 years of Classic FM broadcasting live on the airwaves.

The station will be celebrating all week in a number of ways such as a birthday concert with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. The station will also be broadcasting the story of Classic FM’s birth live on air.

“The Pazza Factor: the almost true story of the birth of Classic FM” has been commissioned by Classic FM and will be aired on the station on Tuesday 5th September at 8pm. The 90 minute play follows the story of how the station was created against the backdrop of a severe recession and a serious lack of interest from the investment community, the radio industry and the rest of the media who believed that a classical music station would fail.

The tongue-in-cheek production stars some of the cast of hit show, Dead Ringers, including Jon Culshaw and Duncan Wisbey. It’s been directed by the legendary Bill Dare, whose credits include directing Dead Ringers and the Now Show on Radio 4.
Ralph Bernard, former Chief Executive of Classic FM said “It seems extraordinary now but hardly anyone believed in the idea of a national classical music station. None of the other radio companies would invest – and in a six week period I did around 50 presentations to investment analysts, newspaper groups and private individuals. No one said yes!

Eventually with help from DMGT (Daily Mail) we persuaded Time Warner and Sir Peter Michael to come in. We raised the cash with literally minutes to go before the deadline. Had we failed the licence would have gone to Radio Clyde who wanted to run an easy listening station. But here we are today celebrating one of radio’s greatest success stories and I’m very proud to have played a part in it”

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