It all started with a YouTube video, then, mere hours, a tweet merely stating: “Radio X. Monday 21st September. 06:30.” Chris Moyles, famously known as the presenter of BBC Radio 1’s Breakfast Show with his team of producers and sidekicks, had revealed something that had long been rumoured – he would be returning to radio.
From September 21st he would front the breakfast show for the brand new Radio X station, which will replace commercial alternative rock station XFM.
— Chris Moyles (@ChrisMoyles) September 6, 2015
The confirmation also came by way of Dan Wootton, who conducted an interview with Moyles that ran in Monday’s edition of The Sun. Wootton reported that Radio X would be an exclusively digital station, though it would broadcast on FM in London and Manchester, similar to that of XFM.
Ashley Tabor, founder and executive president of Global, the commercial network that owns XFM said it was an exciting launch; “We’re delighted we can bring an end to the rumours and finally confirm that we’re launching a brand new station – Radio X – in just two weeks’ time and that Chris Moyles is making a welcome return to radio and he’s chosen to join Global and Radio X to do it”.
“We have a seriously exciting line up, music proposition and lots more, putting this up there as one of the most exciting station launches we’ve ever done” Tabor added.
“They know what they’re hiring”
In his interview with Wootton, Moyles said it was time to come back.
“When you’re at the very top, your options are limited — and I’m an acquired taste,” Moyles said. “I didn’t miss it enough to want to go back to radio just to be on. But I never retired, contrary to what other papers have said.”
Moyles added that veteran newsreader Dominic Byrne and Pippa Taylor, a long-time producer at Radio 1, would join him on his new programme. The other well-known team members, Aled Haydn Jones and David Vitty, known on air as Comedy Dave, would not be taking part. Jones is an editor at Radio 1 and Vitty is currently the head of development at the Stripey Horse production company.
Moyles said that creative control was key to him agreeing to return to the airwaves.
“I was very clear it had to be with my team and me doing what I want to do, carte blanche,” Moyles said. “The fact I can do whatever I want is a huge thing for me. They know what they’re hiring. I’ve said I’ll get figures up and make them money if they let us get on with it.”
— The Sun Showbiz (@TheSunShowbiz) September 6, 2015
The news of Moyles’ return to radio presents a two-fold question for him and Global Radio. His show will be linked as major competition with Nick Grimshaw, who took over from him in 2012 as part of efforts by the BBC to drive a younger audience towards Radio 1. Grimshaw’s programme has 5.84 million listeners, according to the recent RAJAR radio listening statistics reported by The Guardian.
Many however are likely to suggest that Moyles’ new programme will reduce audience figures for Grimshaw. Yet, Moyles said his programme would be seeking a different audience compared to Grimshaw’s programme.
“It will be turned into this big war but we’re going for different audiences,” Moyles said.
Moyles’ programme is also likely to raise questions within the industry on what role Radio X will have after it takes over from XFM, particularly if it can maintain momentum and listenership, and how much Moyles contributes to it when the first RAJAR ratings come out reflecting Radio X’s performance.
The potential for Moyles to boost the Breakfast Show’s audience is obvious, but says he does not know how big it will be.
“I genuinely don’t know,” Moyles said. “I want to double the audience that exists on that show now.”
Stay tuned to see what happens.
What do you think of Chris Moyles’ return to radio? Will you listen to his new show? Have your say in the comments section below.