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Background

Why Cardinal FM?

Cardinal FM represents an oasis of calm and tranquility amid the bustling hub of Victoria in the heart of London. At least that’s what many think. But is it really?

It might be thought of as something of a collaborative initiative between me – Tony Wood, travelling through the Cardinal Place London Underground entrance – and the many wonderful co-commuters who arrive and depart there throughout each working week.

I was becoming increasingly conscious of how stressed and unrelaxed most people were as they emerge each weekday morning, and I wanted to try to help in any way I could. I have a background in the world of Classical music and wondered if playing some carefully selected pieces might help relax people a little, lift their spirits and – dare I say it – even inspire them as they go about their daily tasks.

I had no idea whether or not this would work, or if indeed it would be well-received – or quite the reverse! (in my mind the latter was always a strong possibility).

Thankfully the experiment has seemingly proved to be incredibly successful, allowing for the limitations of the acoustic environment, noise from passing traffic and local construction work, and people’s general lack of time. Indeed there seemed to be an increasing demand for more and more of this genre of music. But what could I do when confronted with so many constraints, in addition to the time I myself needed to select and prepare the music, and that of the audience to actually listen and absorb at least a little of it?

Well, if I say so myself, I am nothing if not imaginative and even a little creative. I decided to draw much further on my knowledge of music and the fine arts – from my early years as a violinist, composer and arranger, to my later involvement with orchestras and opera in the Mediterranean, including a short stint writing concert programme notes for the Balearic Symphony Orchestra in Palma de Mallorca.

Oh! before I forget… when at secondary school, my music teach was a colourful and highly erudite violinist and violist who had formerly played with the Halle Orchestra… one Mr Harry H Horsman, to whom I owe much of my lifelong interest in music, linguistics and the classics. This man, through his weekly ground-breaking evening music programme on Radio Tees known as “Your Private Ear”, had found his way to become what might be considered to be the first classical disc jockey in the UK. My mum was one of his biggest fans! It was very popular and, as I understand it, this little programme was the spark that gave birth ultimately to Classic FM.

Returning to this “oasis of calm”, it has surprised me just how popular our matinees musicales have become, even to the point of my being encouraged to create more of these curated performances. Alas, time and technology (the need for significant battery power) impose their limits. And I was furthermore very much aware that I could not go on doing this for ever. Life moves on, along with the needs of not only my family but various other not insignificant projects already in hand.

So the big question was… how could I do even more to satisfy the still growing demand whilst reducing, or altogether removing my own physical presence. Quite a conundrum! Anyway, to cut a long story short, here I am proposing Cardinal FM as the solution.