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Swedish Radio considers cutting classical music

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12:33 CEST+02:00
Sweden's public radio organization, Sveriges Radio (SR), is considering cutting classical music from its programming. The cuts would make room for a more contemporary music format to attract younger listeners, particularly young women.

In January, SR president Peter Örn announced his plans for “Project Sveriges Radio 2010”, which includes reducing costs by 245 million crowns by the year 2010. Proposed cuts include reducing staff by 400 to 1500 as well as improving technology and refining services that do not contribute to the core business.

The Project plans also focus on attracting new listeners and outsourcing production work to freelance and production agencies.

Soon after becoming SR's president last year, Örn initiated an internal study of the public radio stations' activities and operations. A more in-depth analysis to prioritize listener groups is already underway for the first half of 2005.

The group investigating the public radio organization's future has proposed how the four FM radio channels might be structured in the future. Each channel would maintain a distinct identity and three of them would retain variants of their current offering. The fourth channel, P2, is the subject of much debate.

Three alternatives have been proposed for the P2 including a music channel with emphasis on classical music, contemporary ‘pop' music to attract younger listeners, or a sports channel.

SR also plans to start broadcasting digitally. However, according to one source, if classical music is removed from FM radio it will disappear completely as other channels are unlikely to pick it up. Digital broadcasts through TV or internet are also not realistic options to attract listeners.

The new proposal is designed to attract the highest number of listeners to public radio. Today, only two percent choose to listen to P2.

Any changes to SR programming are not likely to take place until 2007 due to current contracts that outline the radio format for SR channels.

Michael Helander

Sources: Svenska Dagbladet, Göteborgs Posten, Sveriges Radio

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