Communicorp plans to replace XS Manchester with Capital XTRA

Communicorp has asked Ofcom to change the format of rock and speech service XS Manchester into a service playing urban contemporary music of an Afro-Caribbean origin.

Ofcom says it is minded to approve the change, which would lead to Global’s Capital XTRA service being broadcast on 106.1FM in Manchester, closing XS.

Part of the Format change would mean the station only needs to provide three hours a day of local programming – meaning a regular regional Capital XTRA show would be made for the first time.

Communicorp uses a number of brands from Global including Smooth, Capital and Heart.

Capital XTRA broadcasts on FM in London and nationally on DAB.

Views are sought by the regulator on the request by 17th January 2020 at 5pm.

Ofcom writes: “Based on our analysis of the Format and Key Commitment requirements of the radio stations listed above, it appears to us that the changes sought by Real Radio XS would not narrow the range of programmes available to listeners in the Manchester licence area, and therefore we are satisfied on a preliminary basis in relation to statutory criterion.

“We particularly note that, whilst no services are required to provide a service exactly like the existing Real XS format, several services overlap substantially with the 35 to 64 age demographic, and there are significant similarities with Radio X (Manchester) in terms of rock music requirements (albeit with a differing target age-group).”

XS Manchester is the only local radio service owned by Communicorp which isn’t a bought-in brand from Global. It started life as Rock Radio in 2008 and has also been known as Real XS before becoming XS Manchester.

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