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La Scena Musicale - Vol. 8, No. 9

Joyeux anniversaire, Radio-Classique !

by Réjean Beaucage / June 4, 2003

Version française...

On June 25, 2003, Radio-Classique-Montreal, CJPX 99.5 FM celebrates 5 years of broadcasting as one of the most listened to classical music radio stations in Canada. "Since 1968, Jean-Pierre Coallier, the founder of Radio-Classique, applied three times to the CRTC for a licence for an accessible and melodious classical music radio station," said François Paré, the station's program director. "Different reasons sank the project the first two times; I don't think the CRTC thought the idea was viable. Nobody imagined the kind of impact we would have: we were the most surprised when the first measurements gave us 450,000 listeners.

Listeners don't tune to Radio-Classique to learn about the origins of classical music; the programs are presented with limited commentary and are focused on the "top 40" of the most beautiful classical music tunes. "When we went on-air, the studio was not completely installed," said Paré. "We only had one microphone for recording ads. Of the first 200 calls,190 congratulated us for presenting radio that doesn't talk. It took us by surprise and we have continued in this way ever since. Subsequently, we have developed a way to identify the works."

What is the secret to Radio-Classique's programming? "I used my 30-years experience in Pop radio to apply the same criteria for selecting a piece to put on-air. For example, we bring back popular pieces at certain times in the day, at certain repetitions and to keep a specific order within each hour. Every week, we add new releases to our playlist." With listenership still high, the additions will keep going for a long time to come. [Translated by Wah Keung Chan]

Editor's Note: Since the emergence of CJPX, Toronto's Classical 96 adopted the less talk approach two years ago to similar success.

Version française...

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