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Classic FM Broadens Horizon

Dutch-based station adds three sub-channels for specific target groups

Classic FM has expanded its popular classical music program with three thematic online radio stations — Chill Out, Opera and Soundtracks.

Classic FM, broadcasting on the Dutch cable network, internet and DAB+, is part of the Sky Radio group and offers a nonstop classical music format under the banner “classical music for everybody.”

With Classic FM’s Chill Out channel, the station caters for the audience that listens to classical music for relaxation. Chill Out mixes slow-tempo melodies with repetitive motifs and mellow sounds.

Choral works from operas by composers such as Puccini, Verdi and Mozart make out the core playlist for Classic FM Opera. Alongside famous opera singers such as Pavarotti, Classic FM Opera also features famous instrumental tracks from the opera repertoire.

Finally, Classic FM Soundtracks offers a selection of classical music scores from films and TV series – the thematic channel combines both classical recordings used in scores as well as modern classic compositions by composers such as James Horner, Hans Zimmer and Howard Shore.

“As a niche station, we remain in close contact with our audience,” said Stefanie Westphal, Classic FM’s music director. “Our listeners are very involved with Classic FM and they give us plenty of feedback. We gathered their suggestions and it turned out that three thematic sub-channels would improve our offering in more than one way. The three new musical genres on the one hand offer quite specific programming to specific target groups, while simultaneously allowing us to keep Classic FM’s main program in balance, stylewise for a broader target group.”

The thematic channels saw a “soft-launch” on Aug 10. “In the past we felt that we somewhat turned some of the listeners away — for specific genres they had to buy albums or use Spotify. Today, we have a platform on our own catering for this audience,” concluded Westphal.

— Marc Maes