Just in: John Humphrys joins Classic FM

Just in: John Humphrys joins Classic FM


norman lebrecht

October 24, 2019

The newly retired Today show presenter has dealt a blow to his former BBC team by presenting Classic FM’s breakfast programme next week.

The Today show, which Humphrys presented for 33 years, has just reported its lowest quarterly audience in a decade.

Classic FM was down 1 percent. The BBC’s Radio 3 lost 4.7 percent of its listeners over the quarter, dropping to 1.9 million. They will be most at risk facing the popular Humphrys at their main rival.


  • christopher storey says:

    Hmmm….Humphreys popular??

  • Jk says:

    “Hello, is there anybody out there … “

  • Simon Hall says:

    Who presents a show is an irrelevance. It’s all about the content.

    • Michael Turner says:

      Totally agree. However, the inane drivel that is often spouted by announcers (presumably scripted by someone else) can be so distractingly annoying.

      I hope that John Humphrys isn’t going to have to stoop to, “and now, on this Tuesday morning, here comes the Farandole from Bizet’s L’ Arlesienne. Did you know that Bizet’s favourite day of the weeks was Tuesday?”!

      • Barry Guerrero says:

        You’re right, how could anyone possibly enjoy the “Farandole” w/o knowing that Tuesday was Bizet’s favorite day? Seriously, when or why did this nauseating trend of talking to classical listeners as though they were three-year-olds get started? You’d think they analyzed their demographics by reading Slipped Disc.

        • Michael Turner says:

          I think that this has all crept in when Radio 3 started trying to play Classic FM at its own game. However, the Classic FM approach is somehow more coherent, perhaps because its whole approach, across all of its programming, is geared to more of a mood-music format.

          I’m not trying to decry this, by the way. There is room for all sorts of approaches to all sorts of musical subject matter (Radio 1/Radio 1Xtra/Radio 2/Radio 6 Music cover the broadest span of the genre know as “pop music”, and they do it in different ways, covering different sub-genres within their own stations). It’s just daft that Radio 3 seems keen to ape/reflect what Classic FM does – a bit like a tribute act.

          Now, while I have no desire to have an announcer give us a Schenkerian analysis of the piece of Brahms that’s just about to be played, I’d like to move away from the approach that currently hogs a significant part of the daytime programming. Instead of us being predominantly fed small snippets of larger pieces in a slightly scattergun way (and where we have no idea about what’s coming), it’d be great to hear whole works, pre-programmed (so that we can make a conscious decision to listen to something that interests us) and delivered with a more fact and less opinion.

          Is that unreasonable?

    • Una says:

      Not when it’s the inimitable John, and at the moment it’s only for a week anyhow, not a job for life! https://www.theguardian.com/media/2019/oct/24/john-humphrys-returns-to-radio-classic-fm

    • Nik says:

      Surely it’s a mixture of both.
      But presenting Classic FM breakfast (a music-led programme) is something fundamentally different from presenting Today (a current affairs programme). I can’t imagine listeners will switch from one to the other just because they like Humphrys’s voice.

  • Costa Pilavachi says:

    He is a fabulous broadcaster, loves classical music and he has a son who is a professional cellist in Greece. What a coup. I can’t wait to hear him.

  • MJA says:

    I strongly suspect that Humphrys’ tiresomely biased presenting (which I’d hoped I was imagining until his outburst against the BBC straight after retiring) was the main reason for the ‘Today’ programme reporting its lowest quarterly audience in a decade. Now that he’s gone, and way past his sell-by date, it stands a chance of recovering. Perhaps he’ll work the same magic at Classic FM.

  • Stweart says:

    Another “Name” for the brain washing channel !
    “This is Classic FM” ad nauseam !

  • jamesay says:

    I dont this in any way will be considered a “blow” by the BBC- the organisation couldnt wait to see the back of him! He’s welcome to do whatever he does now.