A new DAB station launching in Glasgow soon is unhappy with Global’s decision to hand back the licence for XFM Scotland.
Kevin Cameron of Go Radio said: “This move by Global seems to have come about because Global applied to OFCOM to allow XFM to have solely networked programming from London and Manchester, and no locally originated programming in Glasgow at all. For once, OFCOM didn’t acquiesce to Global’s demands, and insisted that local programming must still be broadcast, especially at breakfast. The industry speculation is that Chris Moyles was joining XFM to broadcast the breakfast show and because it would not be broadcast in Scotland, the senior management at Global have basically thrown a ‘hissy fit’ and decided to close down the XFM operation in Scotland.”
XFM Scotland started life as Q96 in 1992 and is the local radio licence for Paisley and originally Dumbarton. Its signal on 96.3FM also covers most of Glasgow and the surrounding area.
After several owners and several studio locations, the station is now broadcast from Global’s studios at Bailleston, where it is co-located with Heart Scotland and Smooth Radio. XFM’s audience figures have averaged about 50,000 listeners per week over the last few years.
Mr Cameron continued: “This could be seen as a very shrewd move by Global to return the licence to OFCOM in London because under their current policy it would be unlikely that the licence would be readvertised as a commercial licence and OFCOM would probably reallocate the frequency to a small nonprofit community radio station somewhere in the Central Belt, which is what happened to the Talk 107 frequency in Edinburgh when that closed. By removing XFM the existing advertising duopoly of London based Global and Hamburg based Bauer Media, owners of Radio Clyde, will strengthen their stranglehold on the local Glasgow FM radio advertising market. Once again Scottish owned and operated companies are swept aside by the interests of English and foreign owned companies. We would have been more than willing to talk to Global about purchasing the FM licence, so that a local commercial radio service could be run for the people of Paisley and Glasgow, but their arbitrary decision to return the licence and to close a 23 year old station with the loss of local jobs speaks volumes about their commitment to Scotland.”
GO Radio is due to launch a service for Glasgow on DAB digital radio at the beginning of October from studios in the St Enoch Centre in Glasgow city centre.