BBC Radio 3’s flagship world music program, ‘World Routes’, presented by ethnomusicologist Dr. Lucy Durán, has been pulled after 13 years of broadcasting in a round of financial cuts that sees BBC Radio’s world music broadcasting output reduced to 2 hours a week, in the existing ‘World On 3’ slot.
In a blog post on Friday 13 September posted on BBC Radio 3’s site, Roger Wright, the controller of the station, wrote,
“Radio 3 is playing its part in the BBC's savings plans and so our changes are the result of our having to work with a reduced budget and more limited resources ... World Routes is a terrifically distinctive programme but it is costly with all the foreign travel and so we are giving it a break, leaving World on 3 to continue to reflect global artists and topics in this music genre.”
As well as reducing the world music output across the BBC, the loss of World Routes means there is little space in Britain’s public service classical music channel for the broadcasting of less commercial local and roots music from around the world that may not necessarily reach the Western market. The programme’s efforts to give voice to those who make and listen to world music around the globe will be a real loss.
In addition, the World Routes Academy, which connected young world music artists with internationally renowned experts of their field in conjunction with SOAS, University of London, is also being axed. Previously, the Academy has paired an aspiring Azeri Mugham singer with mentor Gochaq Askarov, and a young Iraqi oud player with singer, guitarist and composer Ilham ad Madfai.
If you’d like to get in touch with the BBC to let them know that pulling World Routes is a failure in the BBC’s responsibility to broadcast culturally valuable and less commercial music, then write to the Director of BBC Radio, Helen Boaden, at firstname.lastname@example.org