BBC Radio 3 listeners revolt as service plays Justin Bieber ahead of Nessun Dorma on ‘the home of classical music’
One featured the song Lonely by Canadian pop star Bieber, pictured, which was played before Nessun Dorma from Turandot by Puccini
Fans of the service, traditionally the home of classical music, criticised some of the choices as ‘frankly bizarre’ and warned it risked ‘losing loyal listeners’.
But station controller Alan Davey told Radio 4 show Feedback yesterday that there was ‘room for all kinds of music’.
He also confirmed that Rule, Britannia would be sung at this year’s Proms after last year’s row.
Controversy surrounds Radio 3’s decision to play different genres of music as part of its Tearjerker series early on Saturday mornings, combining a variety of styles including pop and movie soundtracks.
One featured the song Lonely by Canadian pop star Bieber, pictured, which was played before Nessun Dorma from Turandot by Puccini.
It is thought to be part of the station’s attempts to introduce younger audiences to classical music. But the decision has upset some listeners.
One told Feedback: ‘The content is frankly bizarre for Radio 3 and it’s unclear whom the target audience is. I think you risk losing loyal listeners especially now that I have a range of other classical radio stations I can listen to globally.’
Another told the programme: ‘I tune in to Radio 3 for classical music, not pop music that’s widely available elsewhere.
‘If the intention is to give younger listeners an introduction to classical music then surely Radio 2 or 6 Music would be the place for these programmes.’
A third said: ‘It’s hardly music for waking up to on an early Saturday morning … Justin Bieber, really? Where did this idea come from?’
Mr Davey said the music mixes were designed for the BBC’s online platform Sounds, but had to be broadcast first on the radio network.
The hope was that they would help introduce a younger audience to classical music which they ‘might not otherwise encounter’.
He said: ‘If there’s a proper context for a piece of music, provided we’re making a musical point, then Radio 3 has room for all kinds of music, as we always have done.’ He added that classical music was ‘the heart of what Radio 3 is about’.
Radio 3 has come under fire from listeners for playing Justin Bieber, Kanye West (pictured) and other pop stars