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If digital radio is the future, this could be your essential classical guide

Last month, we reported huge growth in listening to digital radio, as distinct from decline in most other media. The implications for classical music are enormous.

A reader in Canada, Jennifer West, volunteered to compile a user’s guide of stations with English or French presentation.

Please add your own in these and other languages and we’ll publish a comprehensive  Slipped Disc list as and when.

Here’s Jennifer’s classical top ten:

1) (CBC Radio 2 – from Canada’s public broadcaster)

2) (BBC Radio 3- no explanation needed :)

3) (French classical music station that also has iPhone/iPad app)

4) (99,5 FM – CJPX, classical music station from Montreal)

5) (also has an app)

6) (New York’s classical radio station – so good!)

7) (Radio France Musique – encore en francais!)

8) (Classical 96.3 FM from Toronto, Ontario, Canada – saying they’re the “nation’s” classical station haha…not quite, but they have great live performances.  We Canadians recognize CBC as our national broadcaster – much like your lovely BBC)

9) (KPAC 88.3 from San Antonio, TX)

10) (from Australia.)

Are there any ratings available for digital listening?

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  1. Susan Mackenzie-Park says:

    All of the Avro Klassiek stations from the Netherlands. No DJ/chat at all so language not an issue. They have individual channels for baroque, religious, operetta etc.

  2. This is supposedly a comprehensive list:

    Please could I suggest that anyone who posts a suggestion also posts a link? Just easier that way.

    Norman, I think Neilsen SoundScan provide some data for digital and online radio, as well as their usual sales figures. I’m sure I saw some for my research. Also Forrester have a report on the subject that I’ve seen.

    But formal (to differing extents) radio stations are only part of the story. There’s bloggers like Tim Rutherford-Johnson who compiles Spotify playlists of interesting new music, and there’s of course YouTube which has huge amounts of stuff to listen to, and automatic suggestions for other things to listen to when you’ve watched one thing (thereby fulfilling the DJ role, to some extent). And there are classical music podcasts out there too, under the radar (record companies apparently don’t like podcasts). Oh and subscription services like Naxos Online and Rhapsody too, if you want higher quality audio. Not the same as radio recommending what to listen to of course, and minus the chat (which can sometimes be interesting!).

    What I’d REALLY like to have is a radio version of TiVo/Sky+, where I can “live pause” shows, or record them automatically for later, and set up reminders for interesting shows when I hear the trailer. So many times I’ve been listening to something good when the dinner has become ready / someone has phoned / etc, or missed something having forgotten it’s on.

  3. Must mention my former employers here:

    Radio New Zealand Concert

  4. Chuck Stark says:

    No such list should exclude Chicago’s WFMT,, which also has its own iPhone/iPad app.

  5. The following link is my indespensible guide to operatic and vocal performances streamed over the Internet. They also have an essential listing of all the stations they know that regularly air such music.

  6. Oh good, I’m glad someone mentioned Operacast. A marvelous resource. ( also has a list of online classical radio stations worldwide.

    For fans of early music, the Dutch blogger Johan van Veen ( has a running schedule of early music concert broadcasts online at Very helpfully, his list of stations also indicates which websites keep concerts in their archives for on-demand listening after broadcast.

    *Alert: the amount of time that those concerts remain available varies greatly – from one day or until the next episode of the program (e.g., Belgium’s Klara) to seven days (BBC Radio 3) to 30 days (France Musique) to indefinitely (Netherlands Radio 4, NPR).

  7. While I enjoy many of those listed above, I still find Minnesota Public Radio to be my favorite in terms of the quality and diversity of the playlists.

  8. Gary Norris says:

    CBC Radio Two, cited by my compatriot Jennifer West, mainly plays music that could most politely be described as not classic. However, the Canadian public broadcaster is offering (in beta) a 10-channel classical feed, along with much else, as CBC Music. Music publishers, private-sector broadcasters and others are expressing misgivings, so it may not last long in its present form:

    • @Gary Norris – I’ve been looking at CBC Music this afternoon and it’s very impressive (although I had trouble getting some of the streams to work due I suspect to not being in Canada). I really like the multiple streams feature. It would be very typical of the music “industry” to clamp down on something good and useful like that!

    • Dr. Marc Villeger says:

      CBC Radio 2 is a taxpayer funded, public broadcaster whose mandate is to reflect the diversity of the Canadian musical landscape including the classical music scene.
      In 2006 Rick Phillips’ Sound Advice program labeled Svetlana Ponomarëva “a pianist to watch” and gave her second CD Schubert/Liszt “three solid stars”. Since then she has released 4 other recordings, all available in CBC’s musical library, including music by Bach and Schnittke noted on MusicWeb International.

      Her play time on CBC Radio New 2 in the last 4 years: 2 minutes & 54 seconds,
      an extract of her first CD after a letter of complaint to the Director of Radio Music! EOM

      • Yes, I meant to indicate the site.
        Their new app and new site is TERRIFIC. I think that some of the streams are only available in Canada. Much like some of the BBC Radio 3 podcasts are only available in the UK. *sigh* :-) Thanks to whomever suggested the Minnesota Public Radio. Also, I’d recommend but they’re from Boston and I’m a die-hard Canucks fan ;)

        • Sorry, Jennifer, but you can’t blame us for what the Kings did to the Canucks this year. Meanwhile, thanks for the shout-out. Besides our Classical New England service, we also have four other streaming channels, devoted to Early Music, Kids Classical Music, The Bach Channel, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. As of this week our live Boston Symphony, Boston Pops, and Tanglewood broadcasts will be available on-demand for a year, which we believe is a new industry standard!

  9. Randolph Magri-Overend says:

    There’s 2MBSFM from Sydney Australia

    which is a volunteer classical community radion station with a wee bit of jazz thrown in.

  10. Susan Bradley says:

    While ABC Classic FM does play some classical music, it is infested with light pop, jazz and ‘world’ music in its early morning and evening drive-time shows. An otherwise fine station ruined by grovelling populism.

    • We admit to jazz and ‘world’ tracks in our Breakfsat and Drive shows, but we deny the ‘light pop’ (The Tenors’ rendition of the Albinoni Adagio in Breakfast this morning was a weekly segment called ‘Love it or Leave it’ – when we invite our listeners to pass judgement on a ‘crossover’ track). Check out our music details for today to see that we play great classical music all day long:

      • Susan Bradley says:

        sorry, my terminology may have been inexact. I guess by light pop I meant non-classical. I just get soooo peeved when I have to listen to stuff with a backbeat, or a distinct lack of tuning and professional skill. If I wanted that I would listen to one of the other stations. I tune to ABC FM – daily!- to hear quality art music from all eras, performed with talent, skill, passion. I just wish ABC FM was totally classical!
        And I actually rather liked that version of the Albinoni, by the way!

  11. Opercentric says:

    Norman – please use this to replace my previous post – grammatical error!

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    My ‘bible’ (alongside Operacast mentioned above) is Euro-Opera which gives a listing of radio and TV classical music concert relays for the next month or so ahead. Go to the third link Radio – Die nächsten Wochen (neu am 24.04.2012) and from there you can select by specific date. The rest of the site is an incredible archive of performances.

    WorldConcertHall offers a 7-day guide to a selection of live streams

  12. Please also consider checking out WWFM The Classical Network (, which now broadcasts in HD throughout New Jersey and New York City, as well as on the Internet worldwide. I’m sure you’ll find our hosts exceptionally knowledgeable and our programming fairly unique. Thank you.

  13. Marie Lamb says:

    I certainly would not want to forget my employers, WCNY Classic FM in Syracuse, New York, a station where Norman has visited and graced our airwaves. We’re on the air in Syracuse in regular and HD at 91.3 FM, in Utica/Rome on 89.5, in the Watertown and Kingston ON area on 90.9, and online worldwide at Our HD-1 service has our classical programming (also some other shows on Sunday). We also have an HD-2 service with oldies, and an HD-3 service with jazz, standards and public affairs. For those outside of our listening area, or who don’t have HD radios, all of our HD services may be heard online.

  14. Steve Thompson says:

    I must say I giggled when I saw your reply. I currently live in Minnesota, hence the familiarity with MPR, but grew up in New England and I am a diehard Bruins fan. Hey we both eat crow this year!

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