BBC Cuts Pioneering ‘Late Junction’ Show to One Night Per Week
The BBC has announced that the innovative Radio 3 show Late Junction, now in its 20th year, is to be cut from three shows per week to one.
The cut, announced last week as part of the station’s autumn scheduling, will see it move from its Tuesday-to-Thursday night 90-minute slot to a single two hour programme ‘in a key slot on Friday evening’.
Jazz Now and Geoffrey Smith’s Jazz are also being cut.
BBC Radio 3 Controller Alan Davey said that ‘Some of the changes are brought on by opportunity and creative renewal – and some as a result of us having to play our part in finding the £800m of savings the BBC needs to make by 2021/22.’
Late Junction was launched in 1999 and pioneered a no boundaries approach to music, mixing folk, classical, contemporary, jazz and more, and always with an eye on innovation and experimentation. Its presenters have included Fiona Talkington, Verity Sharp, Max Reinhardt, Nick Luscombe and Anne Hilde Neset. Guest presenters in Late Junction specials have included Jennifer Walshe and Richard Dawson. Last November, it announced its first festival, which took place in London at the end of February.
There was immediate criticism of the cuts from artists and listeners, with over 200 comments appearing on Alan Davey’s announcement. A petition to restore the show’s three nights has over three thousand signatures already and fans are using the hashtag #savelatejunction on social media.
Jazz pianist and composer Kit Downes tweeted: ‘Grim that @BBCRadio3 has now cut Late Junction to one night a week. With that and cutting the ‘Jazz Now’ show, there seems less and less space for experimental/improv music on the beeb #savelatejunction’.
Folk singer Emily Portman said on social media: ‘Late Junction is hands down the BEST thing about @BBCRadio3. It’s often provided memorable accompaniment to my late drives home from gigs & opened my ears to the best new sounds.”
Last March, in its 2018–19 Annual Plan, the BBC flagged that Radio 3 was planning a ‘relaunching’ of its ‘late-night speech and cutting-edge music zone’. The report also highlighted the challenges facing all of BBC’s radio stations as music streaming services had increased from 10% to 30% of the public’s listening.
Late Junction will be replaced during the week with ‘a new classical music programme designed for late night listening’ and Unclassified, presented by Elizabeth Alker, on Thursday evenings, which explores ‘a range of music that can be called neo classical and ambient but which remain rather hard to classify’.
Published on 19 March 2019