BECTU, the broadcast and entertainment union, has teamed up with The Voice readers and a number of former station DJs to organise a protest rally outside the headquarters of Global Radio which now houses the studios of Capital Xtra, formerly known as Choice FM, at 30 Leicester Square, London WC2, this Saturday, November 30 between 2 and 3 p.m.
Last month, without warning or consultation with the station’s listeners, Global suddenly changed Choice FM’s name to Capital Xtra and dropped the shows that played reggae, gospel and soca.
Many of Choice FM's listeners say Capital Xtra's music is now hardly distinguishable from other commercial radio stations and the reggae, soca and gospel are gone, despite its licence, which obligates them to play this genre of music on the station.
“Choice FM has always been the black community's radio station – but it doesn't sound like that any more,” says Janice Turner, Diversity Officer at BECTU.
"Global Radio's unilateral changes to Choice FM's format, without any consultation, shows that this is nothing more than a business move. They seem to care nothing for what the station represents, or its place in the culture of London's Black community.
"Dropping reggae, gospel and soca will close the door on talented musicians who play this music, it will close off a critical route into the mainstream and it will narrow the range of commercial music played to mass audiences in the UK. BECTU applauds The Voice's campaign to compel Global to fulfil its format obligations in both letter and spirit," Turner said.
A number of former Choice FM DJs are expected to join the protest rally on Saturday to demand that “they give us back our Choice” a release from BECTU says. For more details on how to join the protest contact info@bectu. org.uk or telephone 0207 3460900.