With this year's Proms on the horizon in a few months' time, BBC's boss of the classical music festival and controller of Radio 3 has addressed criticism that he has 'dumbed down' the station.


Sam Jackson, who was previously in charge of Classic FM, Smooth and Gold, was appointed Radio 3 Controller in April 2023, with the role being announced in January of that year.

Recently, he has been subject to criticism surrounding scheduling decisions, such as moving Record Review to Saturday afternoons, the arrival of Friday Night Is Music Night from Radio 2 and giving Jools Holland his own Saturday show.

Speaking in this week's issue of Radio Times magazine, Jackson addressed the condemnation he has received from some Radio 3 fans, saying: "It’s very easy to use that ludicrous phrase ‘dumbing down’, but nobody ever really defines what it means, it’s just an insult.

"Because I ran Classic FM, people will naturally go, ‘Well, are you qualified to run Radio 3?’ I think often it’s snobbery against commercial radio and partly snobbery against me, perhaps."

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Asked if the criticism bothers him, Jackson said: "I don’t like it when I’m out on a dog walk across the Easter weekend with one of my kids and my phone is buzzing because a critic has decided to put out a tweet with personal criticism of me."

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When he was first announced as Controller last year, Jackson said in a statement: "BBC Radio 3 is unlike any other station: a network delivering ambitious, unique content, with live classical music at its core.

"This ambition, quality and diversity must stay at the heart of everything Radio 3 and the BBC Proms deliver. I'm thrilled to be tasked with driving both Radio 3 and the Proms forward, with the help of brilliant people across the BBC and the wider music sector."

Meanwhile, the BBC's director of music Lorna Clarke said: "I’m delighted that Sam will be joining us as Controller of Radio 3, leading the strategy for classical music across the BBC. Sam’s track record in broadcasting, love of classical music and inspirational leadership will be crucial to the BBC’s ongoing commitment to bring great music to everyone."


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