Channel Xfm radio changes hands
Jun 2 2008 by Sion Barry, Western Mail
A South Wales commercial radio station is under new ownership.
GCap’s Cardiff-based channel Xfm South Wales was launched last November after an open tender to secure a licence from regulator Ofcom.
However, GCap has confirmed the sale of the station to rival group Town & Country Broadcasting.
Xfm, which employs 30, will be rebranded Nation Radio and transferred out of Cardiff to its new owner's studios in Neath.
Jason Bryant, chairman and chief executive of Town & Country Broadcasting, which already owns five stations in Wales, said his new acquisition would be a “younger Virgin Radio” aimed at a mainstream audience of 15 to 44-year-olds.
He said: “It makes us a big and real presence in the marketplace and gets us into Cardiff, which is obviously crucial for us.
“We are very confident about making this into a big station. This is not a marginal station – this is going to be mainstream.”
GCap put all three of its Xfm stations outside of London up for sale in February, part of cost-cutting measures aimed at saving £9m a year.
But it later ditched plans to sell its stations in Scotland and Manchester after the company’s £375m buyout by Global Radio.
Town and Country Broadcasting was one of the bidders that originally applied for the South Wales FM licence in 2006,
The new station will retain its current format under the terms of its existing licence and is expected to give prominence to established and up-and-coming Welsh music talent, including the Manic Street Preachers and Super Furry Animals.
Xfm South Wales will be the group’s seventh station, joining a six-strong stable comprising Radio Pembrokeshire, Radio Carmarthenshire, Scarlet FM in Llanelli, Swansea Bay Radio and Bridge FM in Bridgend.
Town and Country Broadcasting also owns Dragon Recruitment in Pembrokeshire.