It is with great sadness that this morning, XFM have announced the much-rumoured rebranding of their station to be true. In a press release, the face of Chris Moyles is a sorry sight as the article fights to keep the faith of loyal listeners that’ve tuned in since 1992. The Manchester station’s Time Cocker (@Cocker) posted a handwritten thanks on Twitter earlier, “thank you for choosing to listen to us… we laughed every day”.
XFM has for a few years been a reliable source of engaging conversation and playlists with consistent strength-in-depth. Aside from Absolute Radio, which is also in the middle of a rapid downward spiral, it is the only national radio station to play music of its time. One can only fear that the new Radio X with soon become another source of Top 40 music with the help from Moyles, Family Fortunes’ Vernon Kay and Kaiser Chief’s sell-out Ricky Wilson on the weekends. Johnny Vaughan adds that little bit of Capital FM absolutely nobody needs in their daily routine.
For XFM Manchester listeners, the ever-present Tim, Jim and Clint Boon will be the biggest losses. With so many music announcements and ‘first plays’ being aired by one of these three – bands may have to look elsewhere to avoid the has-been drool of Chris Moyles doing his best to pretend he knows who The Smiths are and that he actually wouldn’t rather be playing N-Dubz or expressing his feelings on the Holocaust, and remember this one? “Yeah, I’m homophobic, I don’t like the gays. Sorry, it just does my head in.”
I’ll give it 6 months before Katy Perry is played on Radio X.
As for the outgoing XFM, sincere apologies it’s come to and end this way, it is entirely unrepresentative of the opinion of your listeners. It has likewise been a pleasure to share the best music on the planet with you. It is the bands I feel for too, bands like Blossoms who’ve been given a helping hand by local radio and presenters that will encourage listeners to explore new music. The only station to ever back The Courteeners, not just after they’ve broken the barrier of the mainstream. The station I heard about the reforming of The Stone Roses, and a year later listened to on the way to Glasgow Green, and then Castlefield Bowl. Never has a media outlet been so tightly woven into a city as XFM Manchester, and London much the same. After September 21st, we may not see this for a long while, or at least until they find a new gig – with a guaranteed audience bound to follow them.
On the off-chance that Radio X does stick to the “male focussed” (apparently girls don’t listen to alternative music) station playing “mainly guitar music” and targeting “25-44 year olds” for longer than a few months, it may still be worthy of a listen for music only – but it is destined to be a shadow of it’s former self.