I don't need a cock to listen to rock, Radio X

XFM was my favourite radio station. Its relaunch as a 'male-focused' pursuit fronted by someone who calls female listeners 'dirty whores' is depressing

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The Independent Online

I very rarely listen to radio. Adverts, jingles and irritating presenters are too much for my very impatient self to want to hang around for actual music, and I generally happen upon new material through work contacts, friends, and recommendations from online sites.

So given that XFM was pretty much the only station I listened to, the news that Chris Moyles is being given a breakfast show as the station undergoes a tragic and unnecessary overhaul has struck a particularly devastating blow.

I’ve been told that, as a female audience member, I am no longer invited to the re-branded Radio X. That my tiny, ladylike ears cannot possibly handle the raging, testosterone-fuelled riffs of someone like Hozier or James Bay.

Ashley Tabor’s Global Group says that the station will be “the first truly male-focused, fully national music and entertainment brand for 25-44 year olds”, promising the “best fresh rock and guitar-based music”.

Perhaps the most ridiculous press quote came from group director Richard Park, who said: “With new acts like Hozier and James Bay enjoying phenomenal success, and iconic rock acts Muse, the Foo Fighters and the Arctic Monkeys returning with great albums, there couldn’t be a better time to launch Radio X.”

What does that even mean?

As a person who will listen to any genre - literally anything - the suggestion that rock and guitar-based music is somehow only suited for men is grossly offensive. The live gigs I go to are predominantly rock and indie, while I tend to find male vocals more pleasing to the ear than female (unless it’s a band like Kasabian who are now on the verge of rebranding themselves as a parody of Spinal Tap).

Of course, Moyles was always going to be the ideal figurehead to lead a show guaranteed to be filled with blokey banter. His history on radio includes the time he offered to take Charlotte Church’s virginity after she turned 16 (the BBC defended this as an example of his “cheeky humour”), and another where he referred to female listeners as “dirty whores”.

His promotion is a slap in the face to the women who took to Twitter last month to share their stories of industry sexism, to the miserable nine bands at Reading and Leeds festival featuring a woman musician, and the struggling female artists trying to carve out a name for themselves in a landscape groaning under the weight of white 20-something males clutching guitars.

Rock and metal are blighted enough by archaic notions of machismo, and Radio X is the sonic version of the man drawer: a sad, archaic result of the misinformed view that women are taking over society, and therefore men need to “reclaim” their own space.

There’s something vaguely pathetic about such a blatant attempt to appeal to one gender: bosses at Global might as well have put a clumsily-painted sign that reads ‘no girls allowed’ on the door of the studio.

Well Global, Chris Moyles, et al, you’ve got what you wanted. While I don’t need a cock to listen to rock, this is one show I won’t be tuning in to.

 

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