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Capital Xtra set to launch in Manchester via Global’s Communicorp alliance

By | Published on Tuesday 17 December 2019


Global’s Capital Xtra station could get a new slot on the FM dial, this time in Manchester. It just needs Irish media firm Communicorp to secure a format change from regulator OfCom.

Communicorp operates a number of local radio stations in the UK, but in the main those stations simply buy in brands and programming from Global-owned networks like Capital, Heart and Smooth.

The one exception is XS Manchester, which is a standalone rock station that began life as Rock Radio, originally owned by The Guardian’s old radio company.

However, OfCom has confirmed that Communicorp is now seeking to use XS Manchester’s 106.1FM frequency for a new North West outpost of Capital Xtra, meaning that all of its UK stations would repurpose Global content.

OfCom’s statement reads: “XS Manchester currently provides a rock and speech service for 35-64 year olds. The change would relaunch XS Manchester as Capital Xtra playing urban contemporary music of an Afro-Caribbean origin”.

It went on: “While we are minded to approve the change, we are first seeking views from interested or affected parties before making our final decision. Responses must be submitted by 5pm on 17 Jan 2020”.

It would be yet another expansion of Global’s quasi-national radio brands through partnership rather than acquisition. Midlands-based Quidem recently announced it would relaunch its local stations as part of Global’s Capital FM network.