camdwntownjohn wrote:I joined a protest outside Capital HQ in Leicester Square, signing songs like “If you tolerate this, Robbie Williams will be next” and “XFM don’t work / they’ve just made it worse / and I want to hear Gervais again”.
However, looking at the playlist now, it doesn’t seem as bad as I remember - the Radio Authority did warn them about tracks that were outside their remit, (i.e The Beautiful South, Dave Matthews). Jamiroquai weren’t on the playlist, but somehow they decided it qualified as alternative for chart purposes (from sales). The number of current records played compares well to now; the playlist is now only 15 new records, most tracks played being old ones.
The biggest problem in 1998 was that the station no longer had any personality or spontaneity. it was like a juke box, and there were no random plays of unexpected new releases, of which there were plenty under the old regime. Also, some records now stayed on the playlist for six months or more. I actually felt bereaved, having lost a station I’d loved.
Yep, exactly my recollection. It felt like the guts had been pulled out of the station - and, by association, of me, so attached had I become to Xfm. The new regime 'felt' like a regime - strict playlisting policy and DJs timidly back-announcing as though they had guns to their heads. Awful way to run a station.
Ha, remember the October demo well - I also attended it! It was a bit shambolic, but well-intentioned. Rumour had it that the 'new' Xfm studios at Leicester Square had been completely abandoned for the day, Richard Park and his cronies fearing what might happen: I recall that hapless new breakfast-show DJ James Heming (apparently a long-time 'friend' of Park's) had previously been getting threats by email, which struck me as a little unhelpful. Presumably they pre-recorded the programming that day, or played a loop. Whatever, nobody would have been able to tell the difference, so sterile had it become.
After a few months, Park relented a touch, giving John Kennedy back his original show - but daytime was still largely unlistenable: I think I'd returned to BBC London by then anyway. It took until 2000 for an improvement in playlist policy, with artists like the aforementioned Clinic returning to the A-list, but by mid-2001 the station seemed mainly about tedious nu-metal and those 'jock-ish' US bands like Sum 41, Crazytown and Alien Ant Farm. (And Dido, whose bizarre inclusion could only have been down to having been sampled by Eminem.) The general playlist policy drove me mad - an act would have a new single out and Capital-X would still be playing their previous. The station now seemed driven by fear of alienating a (supposed) core audience to the extent of paranoia. (This was apparently the work of Andy ??? [surname escapes me], an Australian brought over to manage the station's output. Like Park, he had little knowledge of new music/artists.)
I think the other aspect of Capital-X that did my head in was the insistence in casting non-music types - mainly comedians - as presenters. This meant that we ended up with tiresome laddishness for hours on end, to accompany the tame music. (I know he was popular, but I found Ricky Gervais a complete pain when he appeared on Clare Sturgess's show in the station's original incarnation.)
As for 'Radio X', I wouldn't have a clue what they are or aren't playing these days, long since having abandoned the station. I gather that Ed Sheeran gets more than a share of airplay - which frankly is more than enough to keep me away...