Brief summary and contents page only. Full paper posted on Music Trust website.

Brief Summary

ABC Radio once planned for the future. It created and managed six concert orchestras, several choirs, and commissioned and performed works by Australian composers. It established an important competition for young classical music performers and played an important role in music education. It has no comparable new agenda.
Australians are brilliant performers of western art music and its composers of art music are among the world leaders. The ABC must continue to support this. But it has slowly squeezed its Classic FM network for funds, and reduced its program by half in response to the 2014-15 budget cuts. In contrast, Triple J, the ABC’s contemporary music network, clearly has management support.
This paper proposes that the ABC, through a digital media service, takes world leadership in the production and dissemination of art music. It will expand its audience into the under 30s who are not listening to Classic FM, as well as continuing to serve its existing loyal audience.
In short, Classic FM becomes the dynamic leader in commissioning and broadcasting Australian art music. The intention is to capture young audiences and develop art music from a diverse base, while retaining the heritage.



  • Audiences for Classical Music Radio Stations
  • Repertoire
  • Broadcasters’ Strategies to Build Young Audiences: Foreign Radio
  • Broadcasters’ Strategies to Build Young Audiences: ABC Triple J


  • Proposal for a Reconception of Classic FM
  • Some Detail: a Scenario for the Reconceived Classic FM


  • Foreign Broadcasters’ Strategies for Building the Young Audience
  • Some Speculations about the Young Audience



Richard Letts, February 2015. Full paper on the Music Trust website. This brief summary was entered on the Knowledge Base 11 February 2015.

Dr Richard Letts AM is the founder and Director of The Music Trust, founder and former Executive Director of the Music Council of Australia (now Music Australia) and Past President of the International Music Council. He has held senior positions in music and culture in Australia and the United States, advocated for music and music education, conducted research, written policy documents, edited four periodicals, published four books and hundreds of articles.

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