Classic FM has announced a re-jig of its schedule, which includes new presenters and the end of its weekly chart show. In a real kick in the teeth for weekly sales counts, the chart show is being replaced by David Mellor.
The classical music focussed commercial radio station has had a chart show since it launched in 1992, originally hosted by Paul Gambaccini, then Mark Goodier, and most recently composer John Brunning. The programme currently airs on Sundays from 5-7pm, rounding up all the best-selling classical albums of the week, as compiled by the Official Charts Company.
Andre Rieu is currently number one, if you were wondering. And also number seven and number twelve. And, if you want to go past the top 30 albums that Classic FM runs through, he’s at number 34, number 40 and number 42 as well. Ed Sheeran’s got nothing on Andre.
Anyway, possibly because the chart is boring and dominated by a handful of big names – Aled Jones & Russell Watson, Andrea Bocelli, Ludovico Einaudi, Max Richter and the Kings College Choir all also have multiple entries – the show is being canned.
Brunning – the only presenter to have been on the station since it began broadcasting – will continue to present the weekday drivetime show from 5-7pm and the 7pm edition of ‘Smooth Classics’ that follows it (Margherita Taylor offering another three hours of smoothness at 10pm). In another change to the Sunday schedule, Charlotte Hawkins will now host a new Sunday edition of ‘Smooth Classics At Seven’.
Moving into the hole left by the chart show will be David Mellor, who is shifting forward his current Sunday evening show. Despite what I said earlier, people apparently like David Mellor on Classic FM. Funny old world.
When this and various other schedule changes come into force on 5 Jan, the station will also have a new presenter in the form of news man John Humphrys, who was finally shunted off Radio 4’s ‘Today’ programme earlier this year. Humphrys guest presented Classic FM’s breakfast show in October, which seems to have gone well. He’s now been invited back to present a new weekly Sunday afternoon show from 3-5pm.
Humphrys says: “How could I resist a music station like Classic FM after a lifetime on the news beat! It’s proof positive that there really is a life after politics. And a rather more inspiring one at that”.
Adds Sam Jackson, Classic FM’s Senior Managing Editor: “As we launch our new Sunday schedule on Classic FM, it is fantastic to welcome John Humphrys to our weekend line-up. We had a hugely positive reaction from our listeners when John guest-presented Classic FM’s ‘More Music Breakfast’ in October, so we are really pleased he has made the UK’s most popular classical music station his home”.
“With Charlotte Hawkins hosting our new Sunday evening edition of ‘Smooth Classics At Seven’”, Jackson goes on, “and a new timeslot for the ever-popular David Mellor, we look forward to welcoming more listeners to Classic FM in 2020”.
For those still desperate to hear a classical music chart on the radio in some form, Classic FM’s new rival Scala Radio runs through the classical singles top 20 every Saturday from 10am. So there’s still that. And if you all tune in, that’ll be some listeners for Scala! Though, that said, surely it’s time to just give all chart shows the boot now, what with the modern music charts being entirely pointless and all that.