XFM London

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XFM London.png
Broadcast area London
Slogan Music That Rocks
Frequency 104.9 MHz, RDS: __XFM__
12A (London, Central Lancashire, Yorkshire)
12C (Severn Estuary)
11C (Birmingham, Exeter & Torbay, Cambridge, Kent, Swindon, Tyne & Wear)
12D (Berkshire & North Hampshire, Coventry, Essex, Peterborough, Wiltshire)
11B (Cornwall, Leicester, Liverpool, Norwich, Teesside, Sussex, Wolverhampton)
12C (Nottingham)
Channel 0113 (Sky)
Channel 723 Freesat
Channel 621 (TalkTalk TV)
Channel 965 (Virgin Media)
First air date 1 September 1997
Format Alternative music
Audience share 1.3% (August 2011, [1])
Owner Global Radio
Website www.xfm.co.uk

XFM London is a commercial radio station in the United Kingdom owned by Global Radio and broadcasts on 104.9 FM in London, on digital radio via 30 DAB multiplexes across the country, Sky, Freesat and Virgin Media.

Xfm built its reputation on playing a wide range of alternative music, particularly indie, hip hop, rock and a wide range of dance music, but since the merger between GWR Radio and Capital Radio Group, which led to the creation of its parent Gcap Media, the range of music it plays has narrowed markedly and the station now focuses primarily upon commercially successful alternative music.


The station's roots go back to 1989 and a pirate-turned-Restricted Service Licence (RSL) London station called "Q102", which was famed for launching the career of BBC Radio 1 DJ Steve Lamacq.

Following further RSLs under the XFM moniker, the station became full-time on 1 September 1997, under the management/marketing directorship of Chris Parry and programming director/founder Sammy Jacob (who subsequently launched NME Radio in 2007). During the following year the station played a diverse range of music from its studios in Charlotte Street, but mass appeal was thwarted by the lack of awareness due to a poor marketing campaign.

It was taken over by the then Capital Radio group in 1998, and on 23 August of that year was abruptly closed down for four days (during which a test tape featuring mainstream soft-rock acts was looped). The station subsequently relaunched with a vastly more mainstream format, and a new advert featuring a friendly cartoon radio saying "Don't be afraid!" (referring to the perceived inaccessibility of its old format). However the soft-rock revamp did not prove a success, culminating in listener-led protests outside the Capital Radio studios. Listeners also lodged objections with the radio authority, which found XFM to be acting in a manner contrary to its licence requirements, and a degree of alternative output was eventually restored, particularly through night-time playlists and cutting-edge specialist shows. Shows that emerged in this period included Steve Taylor's 'The A to X of Alternative Music', John Kennedy's 'Xposure', Ian Camfield's Rock Show, and James Hyman's 'The Rinse'

The station found itself in hot water again the following year. Since the take-over by Capital, the station had become more male-orientated and featured football coverage and "laddish" output. This came to an abrupt end when the Radio Authority fined XFM £50,000 for breakfast presenter Tom Binns joking about bestiality on air. No one complained about the comedian's comments until the station re-edited his remarks and rebroadcast them for a "Best of Binns" compilation show.

Capital Radio set about increasing XFM's listening figures, recruiting famous DJs such as Zoë Ball, former BBC Radio 1 presenter Kevin Greening, and re-recruiting comedians Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant who took voluntary redundancy when Capital Radio bought the station, after the pair rose to fame with the first airing of The Office. This yielded good results for the station in a period in which it could boast growing listening figures and talent such as Zane Lowe and Christian O'Connell. The music was still tightly a playlisted mix of popular indie and soft rock, not what the original station set out to do, and this continues to the present day.

In May 2007, as an attempt to cut costs, the parent company of XFM, GCap Media (now Global Radio) announced that they would be removing all presenters from the daytime (10am-4pm) lineup and replacing them with a jukebox based upon listener requests through their websites.[1] This has since been reversed and new presenters have been hired and networked across the stations.[2]

On 6 March 2008 an announcement was made to reverse the decision to remove daytime presenters.[3] From Tuesday 25 March 2008 a new schedule restoring daytime schedules was put in place.[2]

A new schedule was launched on 12 January 2009. Changes at this date included the returning Ian Camfield taking over the Afternoon Show, including Afternoon X List from Jo Good, and new signing Richard Skinner taking over the Morning Show from Rick Shaw. The times of the shows were also adjusted, with the morning show only becoming an 2 hour show (previously an 3 hour show) and the afternoon show becoming a 4 hour show (previously a 3 hour show). The weekend schedule was also adjusted at this time, with Rick Shaw moving to present the Weekend Morning Show on a Saturday and Sunday from 10 am - 2 pm. This led to other changes in the weekend schedule, such as Marsha Shandur Sunday Brunch ending, and the air times of Marc Haynes Certificate X changing (from 1 pm - 3 pm to 6 pm - 8 pm). Jo Good left the station during these changes, only to rejoin at the end of 2012.

The re-appointment of Andy Ashton as Programme Controller in 2011 lead to a number of changes to Xfm's output. The more distinct, specialist show "Music:Response" returned headed by Mary Anne-Hobbs along with the airing of the "Mix Master Mike Show" on Saturday nights and Danny Wallace's new weekday breakfast show[4]

In September 2011 the completed new XFM schedule launched with Ian Camfield moving to networked mid-mornings, Eoghan Mcdermott to a new networked drivetime slot and Mary Anne Hobbs moving to a re-launched evening show "Music:Response". The new "local" slot from 2-5pm was hosted by Steve Harris with Richard Skinner leaving the station after two years.[2] "Import:Export", Produced and Directed by Redefined Media was also resurrected with Ian Camfield hosting from Xfm London and Kat Corbett at KROQ Los Angeles.[5]

Further weekend signings included Sun journalist Gordon Smart starting a 3 hour Sunday show as well as Henry Evans, formerly of Kerrang! Radio, covering weekend breakfast and afternoons 3pm-6pm. Smart's show ended in October 2013 when he left to join the Scottish Sun as editor .

The 2013 schedule saw Jon Holmes take over the breakfast show. Comedian Josh Widdicombe presented a show on Saturdays (now Sundays) between 10am and 1pm.

In 2015 the daytime schedule features Rich Walters, Holmes, Camfield, Jo Good and Dan O'Connell. Danielle Perry and John Kennedy host Monday to Thursday evenings, with The Weekender and The Remix on Friday evenings. The Saturday daytime line-up is Hattie Pearson, Rick Shaw, comedy from Elis James and John Robins, newsreader Matt Dyson doing afternoon, with The Weekender in early evening and Propoganda from 22:00. On Sundays, Pearson, Shaw and Widdicombe are followed by Sunta Templeton and Lliana Bird. The evening schedule comprises Communion Presents (19:00), Dave Rowntree (21:00) and the Rock Show (23:00).

Former Magazine[edit]

X-Ray was XFM's short lived sister publication. Initially a free quarterly magazine, it later changed format and became commercially available. The magazine was issued monthly, in an unusually small format, now associated with "handbag size" women's magazines and came bundled with a CD demoing various signed and unsigned artists. After what seemed like a dispute with the publishers, the magazine went out of print.


Xfm London airs 43 hours of exclusive London only programmes (per week), and the rest shared with Manchester and Scotland.

Notable Former XFM presenters[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Radio Today: XFM drops daytime jocks". Retrieved 2007-05-17. 
  2. ^ a b c "Radio Today: DJs return to Xfm daytime". Retrieved 2008-03-19. 
  3. ^ "Music Week - XFM brings back daytime DJs". Retrieved 2008-03-19. 
  4. ^ Deans, Jason (4 July 2011). "Yes Man author Danny Wallace joins Xfm London as breakfast host". The Guardian. Retrieved 2011-07-04. 
  5. ^ "Import:Export with KROQ". Retrieved 2011-08-22. 

External links[edit]