ABC Classic FM is a classical music radio station available in Australia, and internationally online. It is operated by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). It was established in 1976 as "ABC-FM", and later for a short time was known as "ABC Fine Music" (a play on the letters FM), before adopting its current name. It was the ABC's first experiment in FM broadcasting – which had become a necessity in Australia as broadcasters ran out of AM frequencies on which to transmit.
ABC Classic FM, inspired partly by the example of BBC Radio 3, broadcasts classical music, operas, recitals, live concerts, jazz and music analysis programs.
The monthly arts magazine Limelight was, under its former name 24 Hours (1976–2003), originally owned and published by the ABC. It is now independently owned and published, but continues a strong affiliation with the ABC and with ABC Classic FM in particular, and provides details of the station's forthcoming programs.
In common with all ABC Radio stations (other than Triple J, which operates its own service), it also carries news bulletins produced by ABC News. On 19 December 2005, in line with the policy applied at every ABC Radio network (except Triple J and Radio Australia), these news bulletins became state-based rather than national.
On weekdays, ABC Classic FM's news bulletins are broadcast at 5:00, 5:30, 6:00 AEST/AEDT and then hourly (except at 12:00, 14:00 and 15:00) until 19.00. At weekends, news bulletins are broadcast hourly from 5:00 till 10:00, then at 12:00, 17:00 and 19:00. All news broadcasts, other than an extended 10-minute bulletin at 7:00, run for five minutes.
Since 2001, ABC Classic FM has organised a number of Classic 100 Countdown surveys. The results of each survey are decided by votes cast by the listeners of the radio station. The works are broadcast in reverse order of popularity over seven to ten days. The countdown culminates in the broadcast of a live concert featuring the most popular pieces and finishes with the number one listener choice. A feature of the countdown is that each piece is kept secret until just before its broadcast (including the pieces featured in the final concert).