XFM Manchester

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Xfm Manchester
Xfm Manchester.gif
Broadcast area North West England
Slogan Music That Rocks
Frequency 97.7 MHz
First air date 15 March 2006
Format Alternative music
Audience share 1.3% (December 2009, [1])
Transmitter coordinates 53°28′49″N 2°14′19″W / 53.4802°N 2.2386°W / 53.4802; -2.2386Coordinates: 53°28′49″N 2°14′19″W / 53.4802°N 2.2386°W / 53.4802; -2.2386
Owner Global Radio
Website 97.7 Xfm Manchester - Home

Xfm Manchester is a commercial radio station broadcasting alternative and indie music to Manchester in North West England.

It builds on the brand and format established by Xfm London. The majority of programming is shared but some is produced specifically for Manchester. At its launch in 2006 it was owned by GCap Media, and it is now part of the Global Radio group.


Xfm Manchester was awarded a 12 year[1] (until 2017) FM radio licence on 9 June 2005, beating 18 rival bids.[2]

On 20 February 2006, Xfm Manchester began sporadic technical tests (consisting of a playlist of songs chosen to appeal to its audience) prior to its launch.

At 8 am on 15 March 2006, Xfm Manchester launched. A short collage of Manchester related clips was played, and the first voice heard on air was that of Paul Tonkinson which can be seen here. The first song to be played following this was the iconic Manchester anthem I Am the Resurrection by The Stone Roses, followed by Song 2 by Blur.

Special launch events happened all day across Manchester, including a world record attempt in Albert Square to shake the most number of maracas at any one time.[3]

Many presenters were formerly members of iconic Manchester bands and institutions. They included Inspiral Carpets' keyboard player Clint Boon, Elbow's frontman Guy Garvey, The Smiths' bass player Andy Rourke, Factory Records boss Tony Wilson, and The Haçienda's Dave Haslam.

Long-time local radio presenter Terry Christian was cited in the licence application document but he remained at the relaunched BBC Radio Manchester.

Transmitter and studios[edit]

Xfm was initially broadcast from studios at Laser House in Salford Quays, the same building as Century 105.4. But after Century was sold by GCap Media to GMG in late 2006, the two stations ceased to share resources, and Xfm Manchester ultimately moved to studios at the nearby Exchange Quay, also in Salford.[4] After Global Radio acquired the station, it moved the operations of its own Capital FM Manchester to the same site.

Xfm Manchester's 1 kW transmitter is located on the roof of City Tower, formerly known as the Sunley Building, overlooking Piccadilly Gardens in the city centre, the same place as Capital FM Manchester and 106.1 Rock Radio's transmitter and all 3 services share the same broadcast antenna system which is located on the centre tower and is illuminated with red Aircraft warning lights at night. Xfm's analogue signal is available to an estimated 1.3 million people over the age of 15.[2]

Xu and daytime networking[edit]

In May 2007, the then-owner of Xfm Manchester, GCap Media, announced that all local presenters would be removed from the daytime (10 am-4 pm) lineup. Instead, a fully interactive show, incorporating listener requests via the website and phone in, 'vox-pops', live music and entertainment news would be broadcast.[5] This show, named Xu[6] was officially launched later that month. However, it received mixed reviews, and was eventually dropped a year later, and replaced with networked daytime content sourced from Xfm London.

Manchester United commentary[edit]

In August 2007, Xfm Manchester acquired the rights from 105.4 Century FM to broadcast commentary from all Manchester United games,[7] which was something of a diversion from the station's usual music programming. Commentary was provided by Phil Blacker and Mickey Thomas. However, the contract ran for just one season with Key 103 becoming United's official commentary partner for 2008–11.[8]

Planned sale by GCap and Global takeover[edit]

In February 2008 GCap Media announced it would be selling the analogue license for the station.[9] This decision was blamed on GCap's desire to cut costs while trying to fight off a takeover bid by rival group Global Radio.[10] Once Global's takeover of GCap succeeded, the decision to sell Xfm Manchester was reversed.


Local presenters[edit]

Network presenters[edit]

Notable former presenters[edit]

Station management[edit]

  • Cheryl Levington, Sales Director
  • James Brown, Programme Controller
  • Jim Salveson, Breakfast Show Producer
  • Alan Fleming, Engineering Manager

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Xfm Manchester wins licence fight". BBC News. 10 June 2005. Retrieved 19 October 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Day, Julia (9 June 2005). "Xfm wins Manchester licence". MediaGuardian (London: Guardian News and Media). 
  3. ^ http://www.xfm.co.uk/photowall.asp?id=20571
  4. ^ "Xfm in Quay move". Manchester Evening News. 17 June 2008. [dead link]
  5. ^ "Radio Today: XFM drops daytime jocks". Retrieved 17 May 2007. 
  6. ^ "Xu: Radio to the power of U". Retrieved 29 May 2007. 
  7. ^ Plunkett, John (6 August 2007). "Xfm to air United commentary". MediaGuardian (London: Guardian News and Media). 
  8. ^ Key 103 wins Manchester United commentary rights
  9. ^ Plunkett, John (11 February 2008). "Hazlitt: DAB 'not economically viable'". guardian.co.uk (London: Guardian News and Media). Retrieved 11 February 2008. 
  10. ^ Donohue, Simon (12 February 2008). "XFM under threat". Manchester Evening News (M.E.N. Media). 

External links[edit]