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Axe falls on rested Listen to the Band

Radio 2 revamp sees the end of Frank Renton and 'Listen to the Band' as weekly programme is 'rested' indefinitely from the airwaves from May.

Frank Renton
  23 years of Frank Renton on air comes to an end as the axe falls on Radio 2 show.

The BBC has announced that the Radio 2 'Listen to the Band' programme is to be 'rested' indefinitely following an announcement made today of a comprehensive revamping of the station's output.

No regular brass band broadcasts

First broadcast in 1946 and hosted for the past 23 years by Frank Renton, it will mean the end of any regular brass band programmes on national BBC radio, although it was announced that the yearly Young Brass Award will be featured as a 'Friday Night Is Music Night' special in April.

Although audience figures have dropped since its peak due to changes in listening habits and time slot changes, the programme which has been produced in Birmingham by Terry Carter for over a decade has maintained a substantial core listening audience throughout the world.

Hugely enjoyable

In a BBC media press release Frank Renton was reported as saying: "My 23 years presenting 'Listen to the Band' have been hugely enjoyable, especially playing so much of the music that I love.

It has also been an absolute pleasure being part of the Radio 2 family, and I want to thank all those who have listened or contributed to the programme over the years.

Of course the next thing on the agenda is the continued celebration of the talent of young British brass players when Ken Bruce and I present the final of the BBC Radio 2 Young Brass Award in April."

What best serves needs

Meanwhile, in a blog outlining the changes, which will take effect from May and include the demise of 'The Organist Entertains', the Head of Radio 2, Lewis Carnie, said: "They have been long-serving programmes on Radio 2, but as the audience evolves we have to reflect what best serves their needs and where there is scope to broaden our offering."

He added: "I'd like to thank Frank, Nigel and Paul for entertaining their listeners for many years, and on behalf of the listeners, and everyone at Radio 2, wish them the best of luck for the future."

There has already been considerable disquiet over the decision, with many media commentators wondering if it continues to signal the end of the BBCs true public service broadcasting remit. It is understood that the last 'Listen to the Band' programme is scheduled to be broadcast on May 8th.

They have been long-serving programmes on Radio 2, but as the audience evolves we have to reflect what best serves their needs and where there is scope to broaden our offeringHead of Radio 2, Lewis Carnie

Axe hovering

One person who has worked closely in arts broadcasting with the BBC said: "It's been well known that the axe was hovering over these niche programmes.

We are finding that the hierarchy no longer shares the view that the BBC must offer something distinctive and different to commercial radio, and the comments of Lewis Carnie seems to sum that up."

Views known

If you wish to make your views known to Mr Carnie directly then he can be contacted on



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Dave Collins

BA (Hons) (Dunelm) I, FSCO
Composer and Arranger