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BRUSSELS — On Dec. 2, VRT’s Klara celebrated its 20th birthday. For the occasion, the station aired special programs, unveiled new imaging, featured an audience-selected playlist, took a classic music school tour and released a special three-CD box.
The public broadcaster launched Klara as BRT 3 in 1967 on FM. It then renamed the station Radio 3 in 1990, when it began broadcasting 24/7.
In Dec. 2000, Pieter Andriessen became channel manager, and the station transformed into Klara (KLAssieke RAdio). Together with a fresh program roster, the broadcaster aimed to attract a new, broader audience. And it did just that: Today the station has tripled its audience. Then in 2013, under the new management of the current channel manager and presenter Chantal Pattyn, Klara got another facelift, this time adding the tagline “Blijf verwonderd” (“Stay Amazed”) to its logo.
On Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, Klara kicked off its 20th birthday party week with two editions of the cultural afternoon program “Pompidou.” Pattyn hosted the two one-hour programs, which discussed the importance of art education, and invited various experts and lecturers to comment on the topics.
As part of the festivities, VRT devised “Klara 20,” and invited the audience to enter their favorite tracks. Then from Dec. 2–6, Klara listeners virtually took control of the station, illustrating their music requests with personal messages and stories.
On the occasion of the birthday week, the Klara team also compiled a triple CD set. “The music has been handpicked with lots of dedication. Don’t expect to hear the anthology of 20 years Klara — we’re focusing on the future here. And may that future become pink,” said Pattyn. She was referring to the color of both the CD box (released by Warner Music Belgium) and the new station logo.
“Klara presenter Gerrit Valckenaers mixed the festive CD set, which features the wide range of music Klara is known for, from classical to jazz and experimental music, perfectly reflecting the character of the station,” commented Brigitte Ghyselen, product manager of Warner/Erato Classics Benelux.
With “Iedereen Klassiek on Tour” (“Everybody Goes Classic on Tour”) Klara reached out to students through a tour in Flemish high schools, presented by Klara’s Sander De Keere. Just before the second COVID-19 lockdown this fall, he provided insight of how classical composers have influenced this era. The one-hour show was recorded and made available for both high schools and the public on the VRT’s VRT-Nu platform and the Iedereen Klassiek YouTube channel.
Alongside the channel’s new imaging, logo and looks, Klara has also launched a new app that offers both Klara and digital (DAB+ and streaming) channel “Klara Continuo.” The app’s “Klara Select” function gives access to radio audio archives and the extensive inventory of podcasts. Klara broadcasts on FM and DAB+, the digital channel Klara Continuo airs on DAB+ and streaming.