About Classic FM Values and History

Music notation, treble clef

Our values and purpose



Classic FM is the UK’s only 100 per cent classical music radio station. Since we began broadcasting in September 1992, the station has brought classical music to millions of people across the UK.

Classic FM is part of Global Radio, the largest commercial radio group in the UK and one of the largest in Europe. The company owns the three largest brands in commercial radio: Heart, Capital and Classic FM, as well as LBC, XFM, Gold and Choice FM.

The company is led by Founder & Executive President, Ashley Tabor, Global Group CEO, Stephen Miron and Director of Broadcasting, Richard Park. The radio group is chaired by Sir Charles Allen.

The secret of Classic FM’s success

Classic FM has around 5.6 million listeners tuning in each week, making it the biggest classical music radio station in the world.

We believe that classical music is the greatest genre of music ever written. Our aim is to share it with the widest possible audience, no matter who they area or where they are.  We always want to make sure that the performances we broadcast are of the utmost integrity and the highest quality. But, at the same time, we always try to break down some of the barriers which have grown up around classical music.

Classical music is at the heart of everything we do at Classic FM we believe classical music can and should be a part of everyone's lives - regardless of age, which is why the station starts young, with music education in schools an important part of its work.

Classic FM makes classical music a relevant part of the modern lifestyle. To achieve this, the station plays familiar music alongside less known pieces, all chosen to uplift, soothe and stir the emotions.

Our history

A chorus of birdsong heralded the launch of the UK's first national commercial radio station in the summer of 1992. Two months later, on September 7 1992, Classic FM hit the airwaves for the first time.

At 6am on Monday, September 7, the strains of Handel's Zadok the Priest announced the station's arrival. Nick Bailey was the first voice listeners heard on air - 20 years later he's still a regular presenter on Classic FM.
 
Reaction to the station was mixed, with many critics and advertisers not giving it a chance. Classic FM launched with the expectation of attracting 2.8 million listeners.
 Four and a half months after launch date, official figures showed that 4.3 million people were tuning into the station every week, making it the fourth largest in the country.

Since then, the station has continued to grow. Further evidence of the station's success came the following year when Classic FM was named Station of the Year at the Sony Awards, the first of three such awards it has won since 1992. Since those early years, Classic FM has become a firm part of the UK’s classical music life. In 2011, Classic FM was named Station of the Year at the Arqiva Commercial Radio Awards and in 2012 Classic FM received a special gold award from the Sony Radio Academy for the station’s outstanding contribution to British radio over the past two decades. In 2013, Classic FM was named UK Radio Brand Of The Year at the Sony Awards.

The Classic FM Team 


Behind the scenes, Classic FM's Managing Director, Darren Henley, is responsible for the day-to-day management of Classic FM's business. Sam Jackson is the radio station’s Managing Editor, managing the team of presenters and producers who create our unique on-air sound, while Owen Hopkin is the Managing Editor of Classic FM Interactive, responsible for the digital content that you can watch, read and hear online at classicfm.com