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Xfm is a commercial radio station in the United Kingdom. The station is owned by GCap Media and broadcasts on 104.9FM in London, on 30 digital audio broadcast (DAB) multiplexes across the country, Sky Digital channel 0111, NTL digital cable channel 891, and Telewest digital cable 965.


Xfm describes itself as a radio station for "alternative" music, playing not only the indie and rock music that it originally built its reputation on, but also the more alternative forms of dance music, grime and hip-hop. The station's roots go back to 1989 and a pirate-turned-Restricted Service Licence London station called 'Q102', which was famed for launching the career of BBC Radio 1 DJ Steve Lamacq.

The station became full time on 1 September 1997, under the management/marketing directorship of Chris Parry and programming director/founder Sammy Jacob. During the following year the station played a diverse range of alternative music from its studios in Charlotte Street, but mass appeal was thwarted by the lack of awareness due to a poor marketing campaign which was compounded by the death of Princess Diana the day before its launch.


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).

Since that takeover Xfm has gone through a number of phases, including a period as a predominantly male-orientated station with sports output and puerile, "laddish" output which came to an abrupt end when the Radio Authority fined Xfm £50,000 when then breakfast presenter Tom Binns joked about bestiality on air.

Capital Radio set about increasing Xfm's listening figures with famous DJs such as Zoe Ball, Dermot O'Leary and Adam and Joe. Capital also brought back Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant who worked for the station before the take-over. However, a variety of specialist shows, particularly in the evenings, maintain the original cutting-edge theme of the station.

Present Day

In recent years, Xfm has held 28-day Restricted Service Licence broadcasts in a number of British cities, including Manchester, Birmingham, Cardiff and Glasgow. On June 9 2005, the group was awarded a permanent FM broadcasting licence to serve the city of Manchester as Xfm Manchester, the station began broadcast on the 15th March 2006. On 4th January 2006, GCap Media relaunched it's Central Scotland regional station Beat 106 as Xfm Scotland.

On 11 February 2008 GCap Media announced that they would be selling the analogue license for their Manchester, Scotland and South Wales franchises, retaining only the original London Xfm.<ref>DAB 'not economically viable', 2008-02-11</ref>


Franz Ferdinand on the cover of 'X-Ray' magazine

X-Ray was Xfm's short lived sister publication. 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, although Xfm still offer readers reassurance of its return on their website.

External links



Series 0   |   Series 1   |   Series 2   |   Series 3   |   Series 4
Presenters Ricky Gervais | Stephen Merchant | Karl Pilkington
Others Claire Sturgess | Ian Camfield | Simon Pegg | Nick Frost
Features Monkey News | Rockbusters | Song For The Ladies | Song For The Lovers
Hip-Hop Hooray | Cheap as Chimps | White Van Karl | Songs of Phrase
Cheeky Freak of the Week | Do We Need 'Em? | More...