The first time I heard Xfm was at the Reading Festival many years
ago, glowering at my (then) boyfriend as we silently held up the tent
that had started sinking into the ground some hours before.
I can safely say that Xfm saved that relationship for at least another
three months. It stopped us killing each other by playing the kind of
music we would have heard if we had any dry clothes in which to venture
out to see the bands.
Fast-forward several years and I was delighted when it won the London
licence. When I became Campaign’s radio head and first met Chris Parry,
Xfm’s founder, my work head asked incisive questions about the future of
the station; my rock-chick head wanted to shriek: ’Look, I’m drinking
champagne with Chris Parry!’
Inevitably, huge changes were made when Capital took over the
And as a punter, I objected to the axing of the specialist shows and the
introduction of more rigid playlists.
But the trouble with the old strategy of playing lots of random, oddball
music is that the listener had no real sense of what a ’typical’ Xfm
song sounded like - which, of course, many people hold up as the old
Xfm’s quint-essence and deplore its loss.
Wary of attracting the wrath of those who have been drumming up support
for the anti-Capital campaign, I’ll stick my neck out and say I still
thoroughly enjoy Xfm. Although I once wanted to hear anything and
everything, I am now happy to receive an education into what bands I
should be talking about to impress men in leather jackets down the pub.
Long live Xfm, and let’s hope it recovers from this wave of dissent.