Choice FM co-founder Patrick Berry who SOLD the company to Global in 2002

Choice FM co-founder Patrick Berry who SOLD the company to Global in 2002

Demonstrators outside the headquarters of Global Radio in Leicester Square demanded the return of airtime for specialist black music after Choice FM was replaced with Capital Xtra.

Artists from the Reggae, Soca and Gospel music industry voiced their protests with performances of their songs. The demonstration was organised by The Voice, the black community’s weekly newspaper and the media and entertainment union BECTU.

Choice FM had won its licence on the basis of offering broadcast time to black music for at least 21 hours a week. Last October, Global Radio, owners of Capital, re-launched Choice FM by calling it Capital Xtra and immediately changed its music format by dropping Reggae, Soca and Gospel music. BECTU has formally complained to Ofcom the broadcast regulator who say they are assessing the situation.

Ofcom are still “assessing the situation”.


Watch the first Choice FM rally that took place in late 2013.

I think I speak for many when I say ‘LET IT GO’.

In my opinion the focus should be on creating/building our OWN platforms and supporting the radio stations in existence who cater to the black community e.g. Colourful Radio and Bang Radio.

Categories: UK News

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13 replies »

  1. When I saw this I rolled my eyes, when are we gonna realise that all this protesting does nothing, like you said we need to use to energy and either create our own radio stations and not sell out or support the ones in existence..

  2. “Choice FM had won its licence on the basis of offering broadcast time to black music for at least 21 hours a week. ”

    I keep hearing about the original licence the former owners held. But when they SOLD the company did Global sign a legal agreement stating that they would still cater to the community etc? I always thought that once you sell your company the new owners can then do as they please. Right?

    Am I the only one that’s confused here?

  3. If they win what are they expecting? Will they rejoice and listen to the 1hour of music a week they get? What is the POINT!?

  4. I know some people in this vid. I told them the same thing, I think it is a waste of time. Choice fm isn’t coming back, it has been sold and Global Radio can do what they want. Also the original license that included a clause to play 21hrs a week of specialist music is probably no more in effect. They probably have a totally new license that doesn’t have that requirement. I don’t think Global radio would have been that bold to axe specialist programming if they didn’t have a loophole like that.

    These protests are like begging for crumbs from a corporate plate. They should support colourful radio, bang radio, premier gospel and other stations that cater to the niches those shows on choice fm once did. All these protests are a waste of time!

  5. @KarlNova

    Yes don’t forget sold to Global over 10 years ago!!!

    I agree that the original licence is probably no longer in effect and Global probably have a brand new licence now. Maybe the original clause was only valid for a number of years and Global were just biding their time waiting for it to expire.

    The original owners of Choice attended the first protest rally which I thought was ridiculous for obvious reasons.

  6. The frustrating and annoying thing is the method of protest, when are people going to learn that standing outside with the same old rent a crowd mob, shouting the odds to people who could careless get you nothing and nowhere, where is the imagination?
    As others have said its time to stop begging it, if reggae, soca or gospel was appreciated in the UK then it would be played on the radio, the fact is we (the so called black community) didn’t support it, and I would argue that the black music industry , especially the reggae industry hasn’t done nearly enough to earn the support of the public they are now calling for.
    The truth is Choice, the Black music industry and the public need to take a long hard look at themselves and to stop blaming others for not being the gatekeepers of our culture. #absolutejokeallround

  7. I have to disagree with the notion that black people in the UK don’t support those genres. We have done for years and listen to the music via other stations/platforms. Also when artists from these genres perform here live the shows are sell outs. The problem is we are not the gatekeepers to our own music here on mainstream radio, we have stupidly allowed others to come in and take over, repackage and in Choices case sold out in 2002. The owners should have realised what they had once Global came sniffing around.

    We need to start owning and building our own stations, hire strong teams who are knowledgeable and then hold on to the business.

    Internet radio is the way forward and from what I hear easier to set up and get a licence for. What is stopping the veteran Choice DJs who were sacked after over 20 years service from joining forces and creating/building a station?

  8. To be honest history andthe facts do not substantiate your argument, the fact is out of the many riots in the 80’s, we were sold the lie of 4 MP’s in parliament, black newspaper and legal black radio Choice & BRMB to name but two, now more than 20 years later what is the state of things? The deafening silence from those elected to be a voice in the corridors of power, a so called black newspaper with little or no influence to apply pressure that is barely surviving itself and black music returning sadly to the backwaters of ‘community radio’.

    This obviously begs the question, that if we (blacks) were supporting our music in the numbers you say, why are our politicians so quiet, why wasn’t the 2 protests held better attended and where is the public indignation voiced over the photocopiers up and down the land? Because without wishing to appear rude most people I talk to don’t even know of Choices demise.

    If we valued Choice FM so much, why wasn’t there an outcry 10 years ago when it stupidly sold, when it was predictable that this day would come? I’m not saying music events are not well attended or that there isn’t a market, what I’m saying is that the support needed to be deeper than just being consumers and it wasn’t. That said I wouldn’t lay the blame just at the door of our support, I would also argue that the so called gatekeepers of our music that Daddy Ernie keeps banging on about took its base for granted for far too long and didn’t either invest or show any imagination to make it bigger or self sustaining.

    I’m sure that I’m not in the minority in experiencing poorly organised events, Artists arriving late on stage, artists who then do not give value for money or to be treated like cattle by organisers whose only motive appear to be to take my money and offer next to nothing in return, this has been the state of play for decades, for me the only shock is that it took 10 years for someone to once again take advantage of an opportunity clearly missed.

  9. I agree totally with what you’ve said Koloniji. I think the whole problem is that black people don’t have money as a collective therefore we have no power, so many black people are trying to do it alone so they can be the token black, marrying whites and then not giving nothing back, this is the results of that, The whole reason every other race is more powerful is because they give back to their own race and pool resources together as a collective.

  10. Chico-Rei :
    I think the whole problem is that black people don’t have money as a collective…

    We do have money as a collective. We just collectively spend our money outside of our community.

  11. Pheva :

    Chico-Rei :
    I think the whole problem is that black people don’t have money as a collective…

    We do have money as a collective. We just collectively spend our money outside of our community.

    Yeah you got that right.

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January 2014
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