Alan Davey speaks at Voice of the Listener and Viewer Conference 2015

BBC Radio 3’s Controller Alan Davey spoke at Voice of the Listener & Viewer Conference earlier today, underlining his vision for the network and illustrating some of the ways the radio station underpins the UK’s cultural landscape.

Selected highlights from his speech are included below.

Much of Davey’s speech was familiar – the content had echoes of recent interviews in the Sunday Times and BBC Music Magazine and his ABO Conference speech this year, but this line about BBC Radio 3 ‘abroad’ came as a rather lovely lesser known fact.


Through the orchestras, the Proms and our broadcasts – which have the highest number of rebroadcasts through the EBU of any other single broadcaster – we represent and give opportunity to the cultural economy of this country to be better known abroad.

Of his vision for Radio 3 …

We want to lead audiences to things they don’t know but might enjoy. As Reith, perhaps somewhat pompously, put it, “give the public slightly better than it thinks it likes.”

The Third Programme (BBC Radio 3’s predecessor) began in 1946. How tastes have changed since then.

[It] was remorseless in its attempts to educate the country. At its inception, Mozart and Bach were considered as light music and too frivolous to be given any airtime. But only the BBC with its freedom from advertising revenue could have created such an institution – and stayed with it, and adapted it to meet new audiences and new times without ever losing belief in its mission. I’d like more people to give in to its charms, to open their minds and discover the heaven in a wildflower that is Radio 3.

The full speech is available on the BBC Media Centre website. The picture used here was taken and published on Twitter by Alexandra Heybourne.

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