Classical 24 is a syndicated, satellite-delivered public service providing classical music to its carrying stations. It generally airs overnights on many non-commercial and a handful of commercial classical music stations. However, the service is operated 24 hours a day and is used by some stations during the day to augment their schedules. It was co-created by a partnership between Minnesota Public Radio and Public Radio international to fulfill the need for a comprehensive classic music service for stations to supplement their schedules. As part of this partnership, the service is produced by Minnesota Public Radio and distributed by Public Radio International. It began operation on December 1, 1995.
Unlike most mainstream classical music stations, Classical 24 adheres to a "clock" that typically consists of one or two short selections at the beginning of the hour, followed by a longer work such as a symphony, and then a short piece or two to close the hour. Classical 24 also requires two breaks per hour (one in the overnight) and a mandatory break at the top of the hour for announcements and station identification. The service also has a six minute "cutaway" at the top of the hour during the day for subscribers to air news programming.
Classical 24 employs live hosts instead of using voice tracking. To make the sound as "local" as possible, there are no identifications given to the listener that they are listening to Classical 24. Only the host's name is given. For stations to automate breaks, a special decoder must be purchased and used.