Ofcom has rejected a number of complaints which said Capital XTRA is not operating within its published Format.
In total, 19 complaints were received by the regulator, all of which noted a significant change in music policy at the station, while some of the complainants were also concerned that Capital Xtra was no longer delivering the speech content required by the Formats. There was concern that Capital Xtra was no longer a service “primarily for listeners of African and Afro- Caribbean origin”.
Capital XTRA launched 12 months ago after owner Global Radio rebranded its Brixton and North London stations Choice.
After the complaints, Ofcom listened to the station and agreed the output had changed, including the presenter line-up. But was satisfied that the station remained compliant with the Format requirement to deliver at least 21 hours per week of “complementary specialist music”.
Ofcom did take a look at the news output on the station though, with concerns about the extent to which the Licensee was delivering a satisfactory news, community news and information service for listeners of African and Afro-Caribbean origin in the Brixton and North London areas.
Global said that Capital Xtra “has fully complied with all known aspects of the Character of Services,” and that Ofcom’s concerns about the news, community news and information service requirements resulted from “…a series of assumptions, unsupported by the stations’ Character of Services, targeted research, precedent or published guidance”.
Audience figures have dropped since the change, and the station has also gone national on DAB. Local news and information is broadcast as a split feed on the two London FM frequencies, whilst a more national news bulletin is broadcast on DAB during peak times.
Ofcom concluded: “While changes to established presenters and shows may have contributed to an overall decline in listening, the changes have not reduced the service’s appeal to the target audience compared with other listeners.
“The output of Capital Xtra has changed in some respects in comparison to that of the former Choice FM, and we acknowledged complainants’ concerns about these changes. However, on balance, we did not consider that the changes meant that the station had ceased to be targeted primarily at listeners of African and Afro-Caribbean origin in the areas of London stated.”