After growing whispers about Chris Moyles‘s return to radio, the secret is out. The DJ will front the reinvention of XFM into Radio X – “the first truly male-focused, fully national music and entertainment brand for 25-44 year olds”.
Moyles will be joined by a core line-up of Vernon Kay, Johnny Vaughan and Ricky Wilson. But does Radio X spell good or bad news for radio? Ahead of its launch on September 21, two writers argue for and against XFM’s new incarnation.
of the ’90s in one fell swoop – Lisa Wright
It’s an oft-noted fact that scenes happen in 20-year cycles, but logic dictates that some element of filtering should occur between them. The influence of Blur, The Stone Roses and many others from the ’90s premier league can be seen resonating in the likes of Peace, Superfood and Childhood currently, but we’ve tactfully sidelined Menswe@r and Salad.
Chokers and plaid are de rigeur once again, but the re-emergence of the shell suit is hopefully a thing we’ll never have to suffer. Why then, is Radio X – formerly known as actually-pretty-decent radio station Xfm – deciding to resurrect everything that’s boorish and regressive about ’90s media culture?
Radio X is aiming to be the “first truly male-focused station” in the UK – a niche that’s desperately needed in these times of the ever-dominant matriarchy, where male artists simply can’t get a foot in the industry door. Vaughan, meanwhile, summarised his role on the station as thus: “Great Britain needs great banter”. Yep that’s right, the laddy lovechild of Loaded magazine and TFI Friday has come to life and, ladies and gentlemen, this is not a test.
Xfm stalwart Eddy Temple-Morris, who presented The Remix on the station for 15 years, resigned with immediate effect last week citing “personal reasons” – aka wanting to “personally” be no part of the new station. You wonder how long new music champion John Kennedy will last under the new regime too. But aside from the fact that a once-great radio station is sidelining its progressive talents for a group of DJs that can at best be described as regressive and at worst as just baffling, what’s worrying is what it represents.
What Radio X seems to symbolise is the culture of the Dave channel, of the UniLad web page or the point of view that Dapper Laughs was pretty lolz underneath it all. The idea that an indie and rock station should change its steering to being “male-focused” isn’t just a misogynistic idea that insults women (who, presumably, are too delicate to deal with all those guitars), but an idea that’s insulting to men too.
Check out the amount of articles, petitions and general positive reinforcements that have been published in the last 12 months calling for more equality across the music industry. Radio X doesn’t just feel like it’s unnecessary, it feels pretty unwanted too.
FOR: It could be an exciting alternative to Grimshaw and Evans – Tom Eames
Yes, on paper, the idea of Radio X is easy to pass off as boring dad rock that has no place in today’s age of iTunes and YouTube. But that is precisely the reason it deserves a chance.
XFM needed a revamp. It has been a long time since the golden age of Ricky Gervais, Adam & Joe, Dermot O’Leary and Russell Brand. The ‘FM’ part of its name doesn’t sound very modern (not that Radio X is a perfect replacement), and it hasn’t felt relevant for yonks.
By bringing in well-known names for its relaunch, it helps the station get back on the map where it belongs. Chris Moyles is a huge coup for them. He may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but he also remains extremely popular online and is bound to hugely increase its audience.
Vernon Kay and Johnny Vaughan aren’t exactly the most loved or credible choices, but they’re a safe pair of hands and will help this transition with their years of experience. In time, the station will hopefully be able to attract other big names, and not just men.
‘Dad rock’ is a bizarre term being bandied about that is essentially applied to all guitar-based music pre-2008. Even Foo Fighters and Arctic Monkeys are being unfairly put under that unwanted genre tag. However, XFM has had this exact same type of music for ages, so there won’t be much change there. It’s essentially a relatively rare home for music that isn’t generic Calvin Harris and David Guetta club bangers. Yes, I’m aware that makes me sounds really past it.
Aside from XFM, there’s only really bits of BBC 6 Music and some of Absolute Radio that provides alternative and rock tracks, both current and classic, and hopefully Radio X will help showcase the forgotten genre and make it relatively interesting again (the last genuine rock song to reach number one in the UK was Kings of Leon in 2008, unless you count Rage Against the Machine in 2009).