Twenty years ago, on Monday September 7th 1992, music fans turned on their radios and were greeted by the sound of Handel’s Zadoc the Priest coming from the speakers. A few minutes later, Nick Bailey’s voice was heard over the airwaves and that, as they say, was that. Classic FM was born and the UK was never the same again.
Just four months after its launch, the radio station – expecting just 2.8 million people to be listening – found that it was attracting an audience of 4.3 million each week and it has been growing ever since. Now, it’s one of the best radio stations in the country, receiving a special gold award from the Sony Radio Academy for its contribution to British radio this year and being named Station of the Year at the Arqiva Commercial Radio Awards in 2011.
To celebrate 20 years of being on air, Classic FM is holding a very special concert at the Royal Albert Hall on September 24th. The Royal Scottish National Orchestra – the station’s Orchestra in Scotland – will be crossing the border for the occasion, joined by a whole host of big names including violinist Tasmin Little, tenor Wynne Evans and pianist HJ Lim.
“When Classic FM launched in 1992, we changed the way that people listened to classical music. Two decades on, we’re the UK’s biggest classical music radio station and as part of our 20th birthday celebrations, Classic FM Live promises to be one of the most exciting musical nights of the year,” managing director Darren Henley was quoted by Radio Today as saying.
The evening’s programme includes performances of Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending and Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No 2 and, with other special guests yet to be announced, it’s sure to be a very special night out indeed.
So happy birthday, Classic FM! We always have you on in the kitchen at the Two Moors Festival HQ and don’t know what we’d do without you. Here’s to another 20 years!
Which is your favourite classical music radio station?
- This Is My Jam (2mfblog.wordpress.com)