Richard Buckham defends the station saying alleged changes to Classic FM are “baseless”.
Richard Buckham has denied there are any plans to remove Classic FM from the airwaves or to move to an entirely digital radio or online service. In an exclusive interview with Limelight Magazine, the Station Manager of ABC Classic FM said that any such rumours were entirely unfounded.
Concerns over the future of the station were raised last week by senior ABC journalist Quentin Dempster in a statement published on the Friends of the ABC website. An article subsequently published on the Limelight website on Friday, reporting Dempster’s concerns, provoked an outcry on social media. Classic FM listeners unanimously voiced their horror at the alleged proposal, with some threatening to petition the ABC if such a plan was implemented.
Buckham is keen to silence the rumours, all of which he flatly denies. “I wrote to the Classic FM staff on Friday, firstly to reassure them that the rumours were baseless, that they were without foundation and not sourced within the ABC, and secondly to say that ABC Radio has no plans to do what was described: to take Classic FM off FM transmission,” said Buckham in response to Quentin Dempster’s article.
Buckham, who has been Station Manager of Classic FM for over five years, said he was unsure why Dempster would speak out about the future radio strategy of the ABC. “I really don’t know. Quentin doesn’t have a connection to the ABC board, he wouldn’t be attending any meetings with the board or meetings relating to the board”, Buckham said, “he’s a journalist employed by ABC, that’s his status”. Buckham continued, “If he’s concerned about the future of Classic FM that’s great, and I’m grateful for his concern, but the reasons behind his concern is without foundation”.
However, Glenys Stradijot, the official National Spokesperson for ABC Friends, was less sceptical about the validity of the rumours. Speaking to Limelight regarding the accuracy of Quentin Dempster’s statement, published on the Friends of the ABC website, she said that “Quentin would not have spoken out about this if he didn’t have a very good reason”.
Buckham was keen to reassure both the listening public and the station’s artistic collaborators. “It’s a shame that we are in a situation where our listeners might feel anxious, or our partners like the State Orchestras and other people in the music community who might feel anxious as well – but there is really no need” he said.
Limelight understand from various sources at the station that the mood at Classic FM is far from settled. Many fear a range of potential actions from minor cuts to the service being canned altogether. It remains the hot topic of conversation among staff, some of whom are seriously worried about their jobs. Meanwhile, management are seen as being tight-lipped, while Classic FM personnel remain unconvinced by the recent memo aimed at assuaging their fears.