XFM London

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XFM logo.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 - 13 September 2015
Format Alternative music
Audience share 1.3% (August 2011, [3])
Owner Global Radio
Website www.xfm.co.uk

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

Xfm played a range of alternative music, particularly indie, hip hop, rock, and a 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 played narrowed markedly and the station later focused 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 launched the career of BBC Radio 1 DJ Steve Lamacq.[citation needed]

Co founded by Chris Parry and Sammy Jacob and following further RSLs under the XFM moniker, the station became full-time on 1 September 1997. During the following year the station played a range of music from its studios in 97 Charlotte Street, but mass appeal was thwarted by the lack of awareness due to a poor marketing campaign.[according to whom?]

The station was taken over by the then Capital Radio group in 1998, and on 23 August of that year was closed down for four days, during which a test tape featuring mainstream soft-rock acts was looped. The station subsequently relaunched with a more mainstream format, and a new advert featuring a cartoon radio saying "Don't be afraid!", which referred to the perceived inaccessibility of its old format.[according to whom?] The soft-rock revamp was not 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 specialist shows.[according to whom?]

Since the take-over by Capital, the station had become more male-orientated and featured football coverage and "laddish" output. This came to an end when the Radio Authority fined XFM £50,000 for breakfast presenter Tom Binns's 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.[citation needed]

Capital Radio attempted to increase XFM's listening figures, recruiting 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 significance 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, and is today, a play-listed mix of popular indie and soft rock.[citation needed]

In May 2007, in 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 (10 am–4 pm) 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 leaving of Jo Good from the Afternoon Show, including Afternoon X List, 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 a two-hour show (previously a three-hour show) and the afternoon show becoming a four-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 Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 2 pm and Lliana Bird taking over the afternoon slots. This led to other changes in the weekend schedule, such as Marsha Shandur's 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, but rejoined at the end of 2012.[citation needed]

The re-appointment of a previous Programme Controller in 2011 led to a number of changes to XFM's output. Specialist shows such as Music:Response and Mix Master Mike Show returned, as did presenter Danny Wallace.[4] In September 2011 the completed new XFM schedule launched, and included Mary Anne Hobbs moving to a re-launched evening show, Music:Response. A new "local" slot was introduced. Broadcaster Richard Skinner left the station after two years.[2] The show Import:Export, produced and directed by Redefined Media, was resurrected and linked to KROQ Los Angeles.[5] Further weekend signings included Sun journalist Gordon Smart starting a three-hour Sunday show. Smart's show ended in October 2013 when he left to join the Scottish Sun as editor.[citation needed] As part of the 2013 schedule Jon Holmes took over the breakfast show. Comedian Josh Widdicombe presented a show on Saturdays between 10 am and 1 pm.[citation needed] It was announced in March 2015 that Russell Brand would be hosting a new Sunday night show, which was to first air on 15 March.[6]

XFM London airs 43 hours of exclusive London-only programmes per week, the rest shared with Manchester and Scotland.


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 a small format, now associated with "handbag size" women's magazines and came bundled with a CD demoing various signed and unsigned artists. The magazine later went out of print.

Notable presenters[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Radio Today: XFM drops daytime jocks". Archived from the original on 19 May 2007. Retrieved 17 June 2007. 
  2. ^ a b c "Radio Today: DJs return to Xfm daytime". Archived from the original on 10 March 2008. Retrieved 19 March 2008.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "radiotoday.co.uk" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  3. ^ "Music Week - XFM brings back daytime DJs". Retrieved 19 March 2008. 
  4. ^ Deans, Jason (4 July 2011). "Yes Man author Danny Wallace joins Xfm London as breakfast host". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 July 2011. 
  5. ^ "Import:Export with KROQ". Retrieved 22 August 2011. 
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ [2]

External links[edit]