So, WHO exactly is John Peel, what was Xfm, and why a Website/radio station to continue their work? The Original Xfm:
“Xfm – London’s First Alternative – and maybe the last…”
was one of the jingles/liners used by the station which should have ultimately taken up the gauntlet left by John Peel, and ran with it far into its musical future. Instead, it was sold out, bought up, and spat out by the then Capital Radio Group (now Global), and while it is now ‘edgier’ than its better known sister station, there is no doubt that it lost ‘its “X” appeal. 🙁
While it completed some temporary licences very successfully, its launch on 1st September, 1997 literally could not have been more poorly timed. It was one day after the sad accident involving Princess Diana, which robbed the station of much needed publicity as the world’s media was almost entirely focussed on this dreadful incident, and apart from the die-hard music lovers, few ‘ordinary Joe’s’ were interested in the launch of a new radio station – no matter how fresh, radical, and different it sounded – and no question about it – it did!
At Capital Radio Group, business wasn’t going much better: they had just failed in their bid to buy the then Richard Branson owned station, Virgin Radio after being thwarted by Chris Evans (the station now owned by neither, and re-branded “Absolute Radio”), and so were fairly keen to impress their disillusioned shareholders, thus matcing the scenario at Xfm, for entirely different reasons. With the awful events overshadowing the launch, listenership figures obviously not being what had been hoped for nor expected, and Capital Radio Group looking for a station to buy, it was an obvious choice – to purchase a troubled Xfm.
The music industry was appalled, and so were the listeners – going from waking up to The Smashing Pumpkins at breakfast to (infamously) The Cardigans within days of the takeover was more than most Xfm listeners could take and they switched off in their droves. As the Manic Street Preachers song of the time said “If you tolerate this…”, well, we’re not anymore…hence the arrival of Strange Fruit Radio!
As of 13th September, Global Radio re-branded XFM to “Radio X” and the XFM brand was finally dropped entirely by Global Radio.
Read about John Peel here.