Classic FM, the U.K.'s leading national classical-music radio station, has appointed a pop artist to be its first composer-in-residence. The move is part of a new campaign to promote contemporary clas

Classic FM, the U.K.'s leading national classical-music radio station, has appointed a pop artist to be its first composer-in-residence. The move is part of a new campaign to promote contemporary classical music.

Joby Talbot, formerly a member of U.K. pop band Divine Comedy, will begin his one-year appointment this month. He will write a three- to five-minute classical composition each month, to be premiered on the station and added to its playlist. The station will invite the audience to participate by suggesting subjects and themes for Talbot's compositions.

The 12 pieces of work will then be recorded on a CD album for a 2005 release. The station is currently in talks with BMG U.K. and Ireland, with which it has released albums in the past. There are also plans for live concerts.

"After growing our audience size to 6.5 million a week from 5 million over the past five years, I wanted to increase the dialog with our audience with classical music that is modern, relevant, accessible and involving," explains Roger Lewis, Classical FM's managing director and program controller.

He says he selected Talbot, an award-winning graduate of the U.K.'s Guildhall School of Music and Drama, for his wide range of experience and his eclectic taste in music.

Talbot, who no longer plays with the Divine Comedy, has also written for TV on public broadcast network BBC, and for movies, such as the rerelease of Alfred Hitchcock silent classic "The Lodger."