What are some mystical classical pieces of music
■ On October 27, the new “classic radio” starts in Hamburg / three-year dry spell is planned
Hamburg (dpa) - The craftsmen are still working, the door plate with the name of the new station has been provisionally written with a felt-tip pen, and experiments are being carried out in the studio. In just under two weeks, however, on October 27th, things will get serious for “Klassik-Radio”. Then the nationwide only digital radio broadcaster with classical music wants to start its battle on the increasingly dense media market at 9 o'clock in an old Hamburg office building.
In the middle of Hamburg's media district, across from the 'Spiegel' and 'Zeit' publishers, the new station has moved to which the Bertelsmann subsidiary UFA Film- und Fernsehgesellschaft with 55 percent and the record companies BMG Ariola and Polygram with 15 percent each as well as the 'mirror' are involved. The makers have big plans. “We want to remove the dust of the mystical from classical music,” promises music director Jürgen Christ. Classical music, whether Beethoven, Mozart or Hindemith, should not only be made palatable to die-hard fans, but also to beginners. The transmitter will be "more relaxed than the public service broadcasting" as program director Martin Falk says.
The eight permanent employees, including five editors, want to take the concept of classical music quite broadly: Miles Davis or John Lennon are not frowned upon. Twice a week, the 24-hour program includes jazz classics. A total of 24,000 titles are available on compact discs. A state-of-the-art computer system into which the moderator can feed a music program changes the small silver discs fully automatically. “With this we also provide something like technical development aid,” says managing director Manfred Kühn. The system, which costs at least one million Deutschmarks, is said to be the only one of its kind far and wide.
The program consists of 80 percent music and 20 percent verbal contributions. From 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., news produced by third parties is broadcast every hour, news from the stock exchange, from culture, fashion or “lifestyle” interrupt the flood of symphonies and opera arias. A children's program, tips on buying the best CDs and a listener's request concert are also planned.
The makers are naturally quite optimistic about the future prospects. "We are not a private broadcaster again with the same scam, we have embarked on a special program," explains Managing Director Kühn. There is also a tendency towards classical music among pop fans. Following the example of the magazine market, “Klassik-Radio” wants to conquer the “special interest” market in radio. According to the advertising brochure, “people with above-average education and higher income and a pronounced sense of aesthetics” should be addressed. All three reject that, but the new radio does not want to be elitist.
The station has five million Deutschmarks at its disposal every year. The shareholders provide administration and technical know-how via service contracts. The running costs are to be kept as low as possible in contrast to those of the meanwhile failed Munich classical radio station “Radio Belcanto”: only two editors manage the music program, there is no separate newsroom. The broadcaster expects a "dry spell of three years". The financing is to be secured from advertising, about three minutes an hour, and sponsorship. Professional Marketing takes on "Radio Marketing Service".
The only problem for the broadcaster at the moment: there is a lack of terminals for digital reception. In addition, an additional tuner costs around 2,000 D-Marks. In Hamburg, “Klassik-Radio” can therefore be received by around 1.8 million listeners via normal VHF antenna and 5.5 million households in Germany via cable. The makers hope for more listeners in Berlin and the former GDR and soon in Switzerland and Austria.
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