96.3 Real Radio XS
|Slogan||Scotland's First Classic Rock Station|
|Frequency||FM: 96.3 MHz, DAB: Central Scotland, Online|
|First air date||8 January 2007|
|Format||Classic Hits and Current Hits|
|Audience share||2% (September 2013, RAJAR)|
|Sister stations||Real Radio XS|
96.3 Real Radio XS is a Scottish local radio station owned by Global Radio. It is based at Baillieston to the east of Glasgow and broadcasts to Renfrewshire, West Central Scotland and Central Scotland.
On 25 June 2012 it was announced Global Radio had bought GMG Radio, however the former was continue to operate separately until a regulatory review is carried out. On 6 February 2014, it was announced that Global will keep the station and rebrand it to XFM Glasgow at a later date to be announced.
Rock Radio launched in Glasgow as Scotland's first classic rock station by GMG Radio  when they bought the licence previous owned by UTV Radio and branded as Q96, playing pop music of all ages. At 6pm local time on 8 January 2007, weeks of automated music was ended with Revolution (song) by The Beatles and Rod Stewart saying "You're in my heart, and you're in my soul Scotland, so let's rock" 
The first line up of presenters were Kieron Elliott, a former BBC Three Continuity Announcer. Tom Russell, Ted Rock, David 'The Captain' Grant and Big Bad John Burns. in 2009 former Nazareth (band) guitarist, Billy Rankin joined the team. The station shares news and sport coverage with stablemates Real Radio and Smooth Radio but carries emphasis on Renfrewshire issues to fulfill its licensing requirement, such as lead sport stories from St Mirren. The station launched the popular 'Five Word Weather' to remove the nonsense many listeners felt had infiltrated modern weather forecasting.
In January 2008 the station hosted its first annual Birthday Bash at The Garage in Glasgow where The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Thunder and Gun played to raise funds for Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Scotland. The night raised more than £10,000 for the Scottish section of the charity. This event is now credited as the catalyst for the reforming of Scottish rock band Gun. 2008 saw the Scottish station joined by two more sister stations, 106.1 Rock Radio and Rock Radio (Digital) after positive listener reaction to the Scottish service.
In January 2009 the second Birthday Bash took place at The Garage and was headlined by Saxon with support from The Quireboys, Waysted, Danny Bryant and The Haze. Again more than £10,000 was raised for Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Scotland, by now the station's main charity and for whom much other fundraising was taking place over the year. For the first time, in June 2009, Rock Radio provided Download Festival Radio, a RSL service on 87.7FM around the Download Festival site at Donington Park in Leicestershire. In September 2009 networking with Rock Radio Manchester began which resulted in weekday breakfast and drive-time programming coming from Glasgow, but lunchtime and evening programming shared with Manchester. This allowed the station to have more hours of live presenters to improve the listener experience. During this period specialist programming at night, such as the Metal Hammer and Classic Rock Magazine Shows, and the 'Rock Radio Takeover' shows were launched and attract listeners from across the world.
By 2010 the current presenter line-up had been cemented, with Billy Rankin presenting the breakfast show and Tom Russell presenting drive time. Manchester presenters Paul Anthony and Moose were on evenings and lunchtime respectively. The Third Birthday Bash in January 2010 featured Madina Lake, Blaze Bayley and Dan Reed and again raised over £10,000 for Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Scotland. The summer period saw the station's most comprehensive music festival coverage. As with 2009 the station provided the RSL radio broadcast for the Download Festival, as well as producing many network shows from the site, and sent teams to Hard Rock Hell Road Trip in Ibiza, T in the Park 2010, High Voltage Festival, Sonisphere Festival's UK leg at Knebworth and the Leeds Festival.
The fourth Birthday Bash happened at Glasgow's The Garage (nightclub) in January 2011 and showcased Reef (band), The Union (band) and Taking Dawn. The summer festival season was Rock Radio's best yet. Partnering with sister news service RockAAA RSL broadcasting was extended to Sonisphere at Knebworth as well as the third year in succession at Download. Again a team returned to Hard Rock Hell Road Trip in Ibiza and High Voltage Festival. In addition related news service RockAAA provided news coverage for Sonisphere Festivals across Europe with teams at eight of the 11 events.
On 28 July 2011 it was announced that GMG Radio would be rebranding sister station 106.1 Rock Radio as Real Radio XS for its Manchester audience. Around the same, managing director Billy Anderson announced his departure from the station and entered talks with GMG Radio on buying out the station along with a group of private investors. Two months later, GMG announced the station would not be sold off and will be rebranded as '96.3 Real Radio XS' at the end of October 2011.
Following the sale of GMG Radio (subsequently Real and Smooth Ltd) to Global Radio, and the resulting sale of several stations to Communicorp to operate mostly under brand licences from Global, more detail about how this would affect Real XS was confirmed. Whilst Capital Scotland would be among the stations taken over by Communicorp, Real XS in Paisley would be retained by Global, alongside 105.2 Smooth Radio and Real Radio Scotland, with Real relaunched as Heart (alongside all other Real stations) and Real XS taking the Xfm affiliation. In practice this would result in XS retaining local programming at key times, but during networked hours taking these shows from Xfm London, as Xfm Manchester already does, rather than taking programmes from Real XS in Manchester, which is to be sold to Communicorp and carry on as a standalone classic rock station. (A regional XFM for central Scotland previously broadcast in Scotland on the frequencies now held by Capital Scotland, and the new Xfm is likely to broadcast across the Central Belt in the slot currently used by XS.)
Music and line-up
The station's music policy and format has quietly evolved and refined from Classic rock to Mainstream rock. The music ranges from Classic rock such as The Rolling Stones through heavy metal Led Zeppelin and the Hard rock of AC/DC to modern Alternative rock from Biffy Clyro and Grunge and Post-grunge from Foo Fighters. To add spice occasional unknown tracks are played, as is some metal during daytime from bands such as Thrash Metallers Pantera and Slayer.
Its target market is wide but there is a slight bias the male age range of 35–64 years. In-depth RAJAR results show the station is not targeted and consumed by a particular socio-demographic group, it is balanced across all backgrounds.
- GMG Radio sold to Global for £50m Mark Sweeney, The Guardian, 25 June 2012
- Global Radio seals £50m purchase of GMG Radio Maisie McCabe, Media Week, 25 June 2012
- Rock Radio Glasgow to rebrand as Real XS, Radio Today, 27 September 2011