Bauer Media has announced a new station that it is billing as the biggest launch in UK classical music radio since Classic FM started broadcasting in 1992.
Opening on 4 March, Scala Radio will feature a suite of established presenters and musicians, including Simon Mayo, Angellica Bell, Goldie, William Orbit, Mark Kermode and Chris Rogers. Bauer promised that it would "break the mould of classical music in the UK".
Mayo will front a mid-morning entertainment show, including celebrity interviews, listener interaction and a feature called "Classical confessions". Bell and Rogers will both host weekend programmes, while Kermode, perhaps the UK’s most prominent film critic, will present a show based on movie scores.
Mayo left Radio 2, where he hosted the drivetime show with Jo Whiley, last year. The news came shortly after it was announced Chris Evans would also be leaving the BBC station to join Virgin Radio. Kermode and Mayo continue to host their Film Review show on BBC Radio 5 Live.
Scala will also see drum and bass DJ Goldie present Goldie’s Classic Life, featuring classical music mixes, alongside a narration of his own journey into classical music. William Orbit in the Space, meanwhile, will see the producer – known for remixing pieces such as Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings – curate well-known and newer composers.
Steve Parkinson, Bauer's group managing director, national radio, said: "We are launching new radio brands at great velocity and we believe that Scala is the most exciting new personality-led radio station launch in years.
"The mix of music, personality and conversation will make it both intriguing and completely unique. We’ve completely reimagined a format and designed it to appeal to a modern audience. This will be the very best in classical music for today."
Mayo added: "There are hundreds of radio stations playing rock and pop, and only two classical music stations up until now. We’re different because we’re going all out to entertain, laugh with the listeners and have a good time."