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I used to listen to Xfm off and on before I went away travelling for six months. Since returning I quickly got fed up of Radio 1 and changed to Xfm. Although I have found Xfm can be quite repetitious in the music it plays it really is good music therefore its always worth listening in.
The music played on Xfm is generally Indie music mixed in with the odd bit of rock and dance music. This means it is a happy medium between stations like Kerrang which can get a tad heavy and radio 1 which can often churn out the chart hits all to frequently. It's refreshing to tune into a radio station where you can listen to some good up and coming bands, at the moment I am particularly impressed with the offerings from Phoenix, Funeral Party and Delphic none of whom I had heard of until their songs were played on Xfm. The great thing is that alongside these up and coming bands are the classic hits from the likes of Biffy Clyro, Bloc Party, Feeder, The Killers and Oasis.
My favourite time to listen to Xfm has to be at breakfast time. Dave Berry's show is fantastic: it blends the right amount of humour, chat and good music. This show always brings a smile to my face in the mornings, Dave and his team so much more down to earth and approachable than the likes of Chris Moyles and Johnny Vaughan. Indeed I find Chris Moyles show in particular to be quite tedious with little music played.
In conclusion I would just like to end this review by encouraging everyone to give Xfm a go especially if you are into your Indie music. Dave Berry's show comes highly recommended!
XFM has come a long way since it's early days of being a tiny London pirate station. They managed to get a restricted licence in the first instance to allow them to broadcast legally and then eventually in (I think) the early 90's a full-time licence was awarded on 104.9 to allow broadcast within the M25 motorway area, i.e. London and surrounding. It was originally independently owned, but a few years ago was taken over by the Capital group, who manage a number of other London stations. Ok, so how can I review this excellent station when I live in Northampton, and am in London probably twice a year for a mere number of hours? Well as I said at the start they have come a long way since their early days, there is a full range of ways to tune into XFM. London and Surrounding - 104.9 FM Nationwide on Sky Digital Receivers - Channel 864 Nationwide on the new DAB system (Digital Audio Broadcasting - an emerging new technology will should supercede FM radio in a few more years) Worldwide via the XFM website, at www.xfm.co.uk The website gives the option of two Windows Media Player (WMA) audio feeds, low quality (connections at 56K and below) and superior quality (Above 56K connections) I listen to XFM via the website on the low quality feed. But it isn't low quality, not by a long way. The wonders of modern audio compression techniques ensure a smooth sound, which is very listenable and on a par with broadcast FM. The connection very rarely drops out I find, and I can listen for a few hours and comfortably browse the web together. I occasionally will run the superior feed, but on my 64K NTL Cablemodem, the connection does drop out every few minutes. The superior feed is for the 512K cable modem and ADSL users. (And the naughty ones using the company network to listen in!!) The station itself then. The purpose of XFM is to deliver a wide range of alternative indie, rock and dance, al
ong with anything that will slot in-between! Artists you can expect to hear would include, Ash, Therapy, Ed Harcourt, Ben Folds, Radiohead, House of Pain, Cypress Hill, The Strokes, Groove Armada, PJ Harvey. And so on. The playlist is endless, but is regularly updated with new releases. Move over to xfm.co.uk and then go to Playlist for details. The days are split up into regular schedules, which would be the norm really. Breakfast shows, lunchtime sessions, afternoon shows, and evening slots. The various shows have a number of specialist shows throughout the week, covering classic indie, live music, sessions, dance, football (Saturday PM live coverage), rock and punk. There are probably not many DJ's on the station that you'll recognise, but the most important thing is the music they play. One notable name you may recognise is Claire Sturgess who used to be on Radio 1. The stations website, along with the live audio 24 hours a day, is a very comprehensive site, full of music news, reviews (live, singles, albums), video feeds of recent XFM gigs in London, message boards, DJ pages, show information, and the XFM Store, which is managed by popular online CD retailer CD101.com. Overall this is a quality station, available to many people throughout the UK now. The only downside is that is a commercial station. The adverts though are not cheesy double-glazing adverts as so often heard on other commercials. The ad breaks come around every 20 minutes, and last a few minutes. Real news is also included on the hour; a simple headline output is the norm here. Recommended listening, if you are not a fan of the UK Shed music and Cheese-Monger playlists that dominate most other stations!
Xfm was once called "London's only Alternative". After spending AGES with temporary radio licenses, they finally built up a strong enough listener base to justify a permanent license. The quality and variety of the music then was INCREDIBLE. They played everything from Mogwai to Arab Strap, and championed a lot of bands that have now become mainstream. It's not so long ago that many of the people in the top of the indie charts were fledgling indie kids and getting their first and only airplay on Xfm. Ricky Gervaise of 11 O'clock show fame was a DJ on the old Xfm, and along with the others produced a great mix. Unfortunately the owners then got an offer they couldn't refuse from Capital FM to buy out Xfm. For 4 days before the station was transferred, the DJs walked out and Capital was forced to play a tape-loop to fill in. The quality, range and sheer volume of music deteriorated drastically and Capital managed to lose virtually all the listeners. There were numerous "Save Xfm" gigs around the capital, complaints lodged with the broadcasting authority, and even a brick thrown through Capital's window. Since then Xfm has gradually been recovering, and there are some specialist music shows which showcase new music and play stuff other than the usual boring old tat that's played to death everywhere. It's still a shadow of its former self, but with any luck and a lot of pressure, then it will return to its past glory.
Independent Radio: X-FM 104.9 This radio station is a refreshing change to the norm. It broadcasts a wide range of music the majority of which ranges from The Prodigy to Marilyn Manson to The Stereophonics. For the older members of the audience like myself tracks from The Cure, The Jam, The Specials and other such bands can be regularly heard. It is a good place to hear groups from the following categories: indie, rock, hip hop, rap and techno. Session music is also a regular feature, allowing listeners to hear new and old bands alike perform outside of the controlled environment of a recording studio. It was as a result of listening to one such session feature that I am writing this brief overview. If like me you like to listen to music that does not, shall we say, conform to the normal expected in todays music world I would certainly recommend that you tune into this radio station and make your own minds up. Mark Ghazarian aka “Guz”
When your young and want to listen to alternative types of music, there isn't much out there. Unless you want to listen to Capital FM or Kiss 100 which only play pop, garage and trance. At times this can get rather annoying thats why XFM is getting more and more young and old people listening as well as playing indie and rock they also play some new age metal which is excellent. If it wasn't for XFM many young people would have to listen to S Club 7 or Steps there enough to make you want to kill yourself. XFM also plays many different types of music from: Rock - Papa Roach, The Offspring, Korn and many others. Indie - Pulp, Muse, Blur and many others This allows you to get a taste of many different types of music and much of it isn't simulated in a studio like Garage for example. So I suggest if you live in London or the surrounding area and like Metal, Rock and indie listen to XFM on 104.9FM and you may even like it. The presenters all seem to know what they are talking about (unlike Chris Tarrant on Capital FM) and regularly give you gig information which is very useful. There is even a premiership football show on Saturday's stating at 3pm.
Fans of indie and alternative find themselves almost without any representation in pop charts and playlists filled to bursting with plastic pop and pop-garage. So to finally find a station that is dedicated to our music is a welcome joy. Xfm broadcasts to London and surroundings at 104.5 fm, also on Sky Digital and the internet via www.xfm.co.uk. It plays anything that doesn't get representation on the mainstream stations such as Lowgold, Regular Fries, the Dandy Warhols and many more. It also mixes in a nice amount of the more well-known bands like Radiohead, Muse, Pulp and Coldplay. The DJs are a nice mixture of lively personalities and musical experts, as well as regular live sessions, 'the hijack' gives bands a chance to play their personal favorite songs. Also saturday afternoons has the football show mixing footie news and talk with music. Also there are listners choices and loads of free giveaways of tickets and prizes. The one big problem is advertising, while it's obvious that a small station needs to have some adverts to pay it's way. However since Virgin radio bought Xfm the level of adverts has jumped. However if it keeps it on the air then i won't complain.
Xfm is a vey good station for all sorts of music: rock, club, hip hop and many others according to the time of day. Xfm when it wasnt part of the aptial group was probably one of the best radio stations ever! But then capital realised it was a goldmine and took it over; they took the best DJs and changed the music that the sations played so it became an above average station. Capital has a lot to anwswer for! Though not as good as it was it still plays enough decent rock club and hip hop to keep the alterntive enthusiast happy. If you live in london it is about the best for what it plays but if you are really into the alternative scene it really need to be supplemented with CDs
A few years ago X FM catered for the niche of hard core rock music, playing a wide variety of bands in a genre neglected by all other stations. But about three years ago the Capital radio group bought the station, and the music has now softened up so much it is more an indie station, even playing a bit of R&B. This attracts more listeners, and therefore more money, so I can see why it was done. The presenters have become more inane, and seem to think that sounding seductive is humourous, or that ad breaks every 10 minutes are wanted. But although it is better than any nationwide station, it neglects its original audience, and this disappoints me, to the extent I rarely listen to X FM now, and listen to many more CDs now.
if you are not already aware,though if you are reading this then its most likely you would be, xfm is a London radio station for alternative music. I feel this is a good thing because the charts are clogged with shit at the moment so alternative new bands dont get a chance to be noticed, and if you are not a fan of pop or dance music you are buggered if you want to hear about all these alternative new bands coming up. However, if you are not a fan of alternative music than this is perhaps not the radiostation for you, but i strongly suggest you give it a listen and see what you think.
The day I managed to tune into XFM (not easy on the outskirts of Buckinghamshire) was a revelation. I had found the perfect station! There was a good mix of classics (The Clash, The Jam, David Bowie) old songs by my favourite bands (Blur, the Eels, Placebo, Radiohead etc) and new indie/rock/alternative releases! WOW! After my initial amazement at the music (I was only 13, had been into indie for 2 years but had been forced to listen to Capital and Radio 1 because of bad reception), I became a little more objective over what was (and still is) my favourite station. I cannot stand the presenters in the morning, the main time I listen to the radion, which i think lets the station down. The bloke ( I can't remember his name) is unfunny and often really offensive. Since when has making listeners hate you improved ratings? Sometimes I'm forced to listen to Capital inbetween songs, as Tarrant is much funnier. The other evening and day presenters like Zane Low and Eddy Temple Morris (my favourite old MTV presenters!) are at least knowledgeable about the music! Suggs from Madness also does a great show with an eclectic mix of music. Since the Capital takeover, the ads have become a bit annoying, and the music a little more mainstream. This isn't really a bad thing. There are still excellent live sessions and unsigned bands (plus some truly dreadful ones) and the competitions have improved. The only thing that really annoys me (apart from the breakfast show) is that there is a more restricted playlist. At the moment, Yellow by Coldplay and Eminem's latest single seem to be playing constantly. At last, XFM is available nationally, but only through digital TV and radio. I don't have this yet, and when the reception gets bad on my radio, or the phone bill's too big to listen on the net, I have to resort to my CDs.
This is a great station, it's a shame it isn't Uk wide. I have only listened to it when I was on holiday in London and since then on the internet. I love the music they play. They play loads of stuff thats outside the charts by bands I wouldn't otherwise have heard of. I think this is great because it gives a chance to all the bands that don't have major marketing behind them. A wide range of bands play session tracks for them, which makes for interesting radio. A great station playing some great music.
what still jars with me, is how Xfm is seen as an "alternative" station - when during the day, when it's MEANT to be, it isn't. Before Capital took it over, you could hear My Bloody Valentine to Bustah Rhymes in daylight hours, and the most sublime mix after dark. Now the real cutting edge is confined to a couple of programmes at night [eg: John Kennedy's peerless X-Posure]. Xfm was the first to playlist Supergrass, Elastica, Ash, Cornershop, Dandy Warhols, Asian Dub Foundation, Cay, Clinic, Mogwai - radio that was never afriad to seek out the unheard sounds and the future music, the original and remarkable, those that would be inspiring for current & future generations. It would rather give us the Pixies and the Velvet Underground than the same damn Stone Roses tracks every day What there is today is just a shadow of the former station, covered in Capital's greasy corporate rich fingerprints. The only "new" acts being playlisted are ones that already have a nice major label recording contract [Animalhouse, Big Yoga Muffin]. A station for the closed-minded, myopic musical tastes of modern-day Melody MAker readers, that refuses to acknowledge anything that varies from the grimly bland, white-boy uninspired, retrogressive post-dadrock guitar music, an abortion of the maverick originality that once upon a time characterised "indie". Either that, or copious lashings of staid US Rawk, yer Korn's and Bloodhound Gangs and yer Red Hot Chilli Peppers and yer [yikes! run!] Matchbox 20s and Lit's -- whereas back in its Charlotte Street days, you'd have Trail of Dead, At The Drive-In, Les Savy Fav, Sleater-Kinney, Le Tigre all A-listed now no doubt... "Dance" music?! you'd be lucky. Save for the 2 or 3 hours on a sunday - the show sponsored by a not-exactly-small dance label, mind.... It's the constant memory of what Xfm once was, what its original purpose wa
s, that makes its existance in its current form such a painful one. I only hope that the content of shows like John Kennedy's and Ian Camfield's Rock Show filter through to become much more the norm than the exception in Xfm's schedule. Cos at the minute every time i turn on during the day it's the same Coldplay/Lit/Eminem [although only *ever* the big beat version of his single, not the proper [eek!] RAP version, noo..] songs on each time... alternative? hah, Radio 1 is more of an alternative. and more varied too... Back before Sept 98, i wondered how i could ever live without Xfm, how i ever did before. No i am puzzled at how people can even bear it for more than 15 minutes a time, and will not be missing it one bit should i move out of its transmission area. Here's hoping that with the advent of digital radio, we will truly once again have an alternative on the radio, all day every day.
At last, a station that plays 24 hours of listenable music! No more are we threatened with the looming possibility of Britney or Steps after the next ad break (a scarey thought for anyone!). Xfm manages to get quite a few band exclusives and runs fairly good competitions, although in both these fields it finds it hard to compete with the Evening Session on Radio One, most probably due to a battle of station reputations rather than anything else. The majority of the presenters are genuinely into their music (which always helps), and display an amount of irony which is amusing to a certain point until they come across as bitter, stereotypical representations of alternative music lovers. The biggest problem with Xfm, however, is that presently it only covers the London area. Despair not though! The station also has an excellent website where you can listen to its live output, which is almost as good.
What makes Xfm stand out from the rest is that it is a creative mix of alternative music, with great presenters and a solid, though small fan base. Xfm is for you if you cant bear all the Britney's and Vengaboys in this world. It has a refreshingly non-pop playlist. Xfm used to be really good back in the day... til Capital took over and it began to go slightly mainstream. Its still the best alternative station around in London, in my opinion. I'm 16 and i only started to listen to Xfm as a new years resolution to listen to better music. But its the best resolution i made...and probably the only one i ever kept :o) The DJs are excellent. You have all the unsigned bands on with Claire Sturgess. John Kennedy gives you all the know-how on the X-Posure Live scene. Paul Anderson gets you home in the afternoon. Zane Lowe gives you a weekly chart rundown. Dermot O'Leary gives us a great mixture of laughs and loud songs. Ian Camfield's rock show...rocks. Even Suggs from the band Madness has a daily slot. The gig guides are informative, telling you what's happening and who's playing in and around London. Tickets to gigs and CDs are given away alsmot every hour. What more can you ask for? If you want 24 hours of rock, indie, alternative...look no further than Xfm!
When XFM first started in 1997 I was very excited. A new station that played the music I like 24 hours a day! How good was that? And I think it lived up to my expectations - songs by bands I had never heard of all day! But then the listening figures started to get disapointing and Capital bought the station. Immediately there was a change. The best DJs were sacked and the definition of 'alternative' became slightly dodgy. Anything that had once had a slight brush with a guitar was played (Since when did U2, The Beautiful South fit into the alternative catagory) More recently things have got better but if you tune in at a random time the chances are that you will hear the same anonymous indie-pop pap.