Two months after thanking Radio 1 during a BRIT Awards acceptance speech, boyband One Direction’s songs are still not being played by the UK’s biggest commercial radio group.
Global Radio’s Capital FM and Heart brands haven’t aired music by the group since Harry Styles mentioned their BBC rival while accepting an award voted for by Capital listeners.
Radio Today understands Global Executive President and Founder Ashley Tabor was far from impressed after the gaffe on 21st February at the O2 Arena, and placed an immediate ban on mentions of One Direction or plays of their songs on air.
The morning after the BRITs, Capital FM was due to announce One Direction’s tour dates as part of a co-promotion, but dropped the deal and removed all mentions from its website.
A source close to Global Radio told RadioToday.co.uk: “On the night of the BRITs there was an email to on air teams saying to remove One Direction songs from music logs and to not talk about them. It’s as if they no longer exist at Capital.”
After the gaffe became national news, One Direction issued a statement apologising for ‘forgetting’ to thank Capital FM listeners.
Figures from Compare My Radio provided to Radio Today show that in the period between 1st January and 21st February this year, 95.8 Capital FM in London played ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ 50 times and follow-up single ‘One Thing’ twice. That works out on average at one play of the band every day. Between 22 February and 18 April the station hasn’t played a single One Direction track, according to the monitoring by Compare My Radio which takes information from ‘Now Playing’ feeds.
When the group’s album became the first ever debut release by a British act to go straight in at the top the US charts, news bulletins on Capital didn’t mention it – despite many of their rival stations highlighting one of the biggest UK music successes in America since The Beatles.
Statistics from CompareMyRadio also show stations like Real Radio play One Direction tracks at an average of more than once a day, with Quidem group stations Touch FM and Rugby FM, UKRD’s Pirate FM and Town and Country’s 106.3 Bridge FM each currently giving the band more than two plays a day. Capital’s main national rival – Radio 1 – aired the group 49 times in 30 days, according to figures at the time of publication of this article. What Makes You Beautiful – the song which won the Best Single prize at the BRITs, sparking the controversy, is still the group’s track that’s most played by all UK radio stations, six months after its release.
Compare My Radio also shows that Bauer Media’s chart stations such as Hallam FM, Radio Aire and Metro Radio – all stations in big city marketplaces where Capital FM is a rival – played One Direction on average once every couple of days during the month to 18th April.
Archived Big Top 40 charts show that One Direction were at number 28 on Sunday 26th February after 5 weeks on the chart with ‘One Thing’. It’s not clear whether the track was played out on the show that week – the Big Top 40 is produced by Global Radio and syndicated across the commercial radio network.
A spokeswoman for Global Radio told us “We never comment on playlist decisions.”