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More than 50 people object to XS Manchester becoming Capital Xtra

By | Published on Monday 24 February 2020

Capital Xtra

Media regulator OfCom has received 51 objections to plans to shut down Manchester-based radio station XS and replace it with a North West outpost for Capital’s Xtra brand.

Rock station XS Manchester is operated by Irish media firm Communicorp, which controls various FM frequencies around the UK, but usually uses those frequencies to pump out content made by Capital-owner Global Radio.

XS Manchester is the one UK station Communicorp directly operates itself. But late last year it emerged that the media firm was seeking permission from OfCom to change the remit of its Manchester frequency, so it could wind down XS and replace it with Global’s Capital Xtra.

The regulator invited interested parties – including listeners – to make submissions regarding Communicorp’s plans, and Radio Today has gathered those together. Two entitles supported the move, including a local music company and someone who said that the most recent incarnation of XS Manchester was “dreadful”, urging OfCom to “put it out of its misery, sooner the better”.

However, 51 people asked OfCom to knock back Communicorp’s proposal, mainly insisting that urban music fans were already well served by existing stations in Manchester, and that XS offered something distinct while also supporting local artists.

One commenter stated: “If XS Manchester was to cease output, thousands of people in the Greater Manchester region would be deprived of a radio station that supports up and coming indie/rock/alternative artists and provides programming directly relevant to the local music scene”.

Others took issue with the suggestion that indie rock fans in Manchester were already serviced on the FM dial by another Global-owned station, ie Radio X. One said “listening to Chris Moyles and Johnny Vaughan on Radio X really isn’t an option”, while another stated “the comments that my radio needs will be met by Radio X are laughable”.

Despite the objections, it seems likely that OfCom will approve the change, given the regulator has become much more flexible regarding broadcasters switching formats and utilising nationally networked programming. Under Communicorp’s proposal there would be one locally-made show on Capital XTRA in Manchester.