Back when it was bidding to become the last Manchester FM radio network, XFM looked to the people of the city for help:
They showed their support for an alternative radio station, and Ofcom duly presented them with a licence.
Here, the station reaffirmed that they were an alternative music network. In their licence, it says:
Artists featured on XFM Manchester will generally be “Alternative”: credible, youthful and committed to challenging the aesthetics of mainstream pop music, with an emphasis on quality of composition. “Alternative” genres will include Alternative Rock, Modern Alternative, Britpop and Pop Rock.
XFM Manchester’s output will be guided by these principles rather than by chart success, past or present, and so will rarely have significant overlap with other local radio stations, though these artists may occasionally enjoy chart success over the lifetime of the licence in line with fluctuations in popular tastes.
Daytime output will consist of at least 70% current and recurrent Alternative tracks with the balance being ‘classic rock and indie tracks’, defined as classic alternative tracks and heritage rock tracks that have inspired Alternative acts. 45 hours per week specialist shows will showcase the fringes of Alternative music and reflect the diverse tastes of music fans in Manchester, such as dance-rock, underground hip hop and electronica.
All aspects of Xfm Manchester’s output, contemporary and classic, general and specialist, will feature artists from Manchester and the surrounding area prominently. Many tracks will be selected by local listeners via requests, including dedicated request programming of at least two hours per day.
Daily programming (hourly during daytime) will contain local listings for live music and other cultural events, music news and news containing a mixture of international, national and local reports in line with the tastes of the audience. Weekly output will include at least three ‘live’ sessions (each at least 15 minutes) and at least three unsigned artists.
Comedy is a key interest to the target audience; XFM Manchester will accordingly broadcast specialist comedy shows and seek to include comedy elements within general programming where appropriate. The service must be based within the licence area.
Now, where, in all of that, is the bit that justifies their announcement that they're going to cover every Manchester United match, in its entirety - and have an hour-long interview programme with Alex Ferguson every Friday night? Isn't this a transparent example of a company promising to do one thing, and then doing something very different once they have a licence?