Scala Radio

Scala Radio is a classical music digital radio station in the United Kingdom, owned and operated by Bauer Radio since its launch in March 2019. The station broadcasts around the clock nationally on DAB via the Sound Digital multiplex, and online through websites and apps, including the station's own. The station was the first national classical music service to launch on terrestrial radio in the UK since Classic FM in 1992.

Scala Radio
Scala Radio.svg
Broadcast areaUnited Kingdom
BrandingClassical Music for Modern Life
First air date4 March 2019 (2019-03-04)
FormatClassical music
OwnerBauer Radio
Sister stations
WebcastPlanet Radio Edit this at Wikidata

The station's playlist features 70% popular classics and 30% new and "surprising" music. Scala also aims for more speech content – or more "storytelling" – than Classic FM or BBC Radio 3.[1]


On 22 December 2018, following the demise of his BBC Radio 2 drivetime show – which since May had been co-hosted with Jo Whiley since May 2018 – Simon Mayo revealed that "...the new radio show will be announced in January. It will be startling."[2]

A month later, on 21 January 2019, Bauer Radio announced plans to launch a new national classical music service under the name Scala Radio from March, with Mayo having signed up to be one of the lead presenters of the new station.[3] More information about presenters and their shows was confirmed in February 2019.[4]

In preparation for the launch of Scala, changes were made to other Bauer digital radio services. Heat Radio was withdrawn from the Sound Digital (SDL) multiplex from early February, to broadcast solely online and on the Freeview TV platform, with Absolute Radio 90s, which during 2018 had been broadcast on both the Digital One national multiplex (after replacing Magic Christmas) and the local-level multiplexes it had transmitted on following its prior removal from D1 in 2014, migrated to solely transmitting on SDL in the capacity vacated by Heat. The following week, Kisstory moved from SDL to Digital One, using the former AR 90s slot there, and Magic Chilled, previously broadcast on SDL in DAB+, moved to the local tier – mostly as a mono DAB service taking the place of AR 90s, though a stereo DAB+ transmission was maintained in London, where AR 90s had earlier given up its slot to Greatest Hits Radio. The former Kisstory and Magic Chilled capacity on SDL in turn went towards allowing Scala to broadcast on SDL in stereo using the traditional DAB standard. Formal test transmissions for the new station began on DAB and online in mid-February.

Scala Radio launched at 10am on 4 March 2019 with Simon Mayo hosting the first live programme. The first track played was the prélude to Carmen Suite No. 1 by Georges Bizet.[5]

Advance weekly listings for Scala Radio were published from launch in Radio Times and the Bauer-owned Total TV Guide. The Radio Times removed listings for BBC Radio 1Xtra and details of news and weather bulletins on Radios 1 and 2 to make space for the new station.

The station launched on Sky on 1 May 2019 on channel 0216.


The presenters on Scala Radio include a range of radio and television personalities, some of whom have previously presented on other Bauer stations as well as with competitor stations such as Classic FM. The current presenters with regular shows are:[6]

In addition to their duties at Scala Radio, Kermode and Mayo will continue to present their Friday afternoon film review programme for BBC Radio 5 Live and its associated podcast.

Former PresentersEdit


  1. ^ Hann, Michael (1 March 2019). "Can Scala Radio disrupt the UK's classical market?". Financial Times. London. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
  2. ^ Mayo, Simon [@simonmayo] (22 December 2018). "An ex-Radio 2 host writes... So thank you all for all the wonderful comments here. Quite moved by it all. I've done a daily national BBC show for 31 years solid so this might take a while to adjust to...anyway the new radio show will be announced in January. It will be startling" (Tweet). Retrieved 11 May 2020 – via Twitter.
  3. ^ "Simon Mayo joins new classical station". BBC News. BBC. 21 January 2019.
  4. ^ "Scala Radio announces more names for presenter line up". Digital Radio UK. 21 February 2019.
  5. ^ "Simon Mayo launches Scala Radio on DAB digital radio". Radio Today. 4 March 2019. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  6. ^ "Presenters - Scala Radio". Planet Radio. Bauer Media. Retrieved 4 March 2019.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 51°30′44″N 0°08′13″W / 51.5122°N 0.1369°W / 51.5122; -0.1369