Capital FM London bans One Direction

Staff Writer

Two months ago at the Brit Awards, One Direction were onstage accepting the award for 'Best British Single', voted for by Capital FM and Heart FM listeners.

During the acceptance speech, the band thanked Radio One, Capitals arch-rival, for their support. They apologised the next day, releasing the following statement:

"One Direction forgot to thank the Capital Radio listeners last night when picking up their BRIT Award for Best British Single.

This was an oversight as the boys were caught up in the excitement of winning. The band would like take this opportunity to thank Capital Radio and all their listeners for their support and for voting for them."

Notwithstanding that, since that day neither Capital FM or Heart FM (both owned by Global) have played One Direction on the air, in fact they were reportedly removed by midnight on the evening of the Brit Awards.

Further, when One Direction debuted at Number One on the Billboard Hot 200 in the US, and became the first group to ever do so, Capital FM did not cover the story despite it being major news in the UK "It's as if they no longer exist at Capital" commented one industry source.

For their part, the only public comment Global are taking the position that there is no connection between the Brit Awards incident and the airplay, or lack of, with their only comment being "Global does not comment on its playlist decisions".

The site (here) has updated the story this week, with significant detail on the playlist analysis. Here is part of what they had to say.

'The morning after the BRITs, Capital FM was due to announce One Direction’s tour dates as part of a co-promotion, but dropped the deal and removed all mentions from its website.

A source close to Global Radio told “On the night of the BRITs there was an email to on air teams saying to remove One Direction songs from music logs and to not talk about them. It’s as if they no longer exist at Capital.”

After the gaffe became national news, One Direction issued a statement apologising for ‘forgetting’ to thank Capital FM listeners.

Figures from Compare My Radio provided to Radio Today show that in the period between 1st January and 21st February this year, 95.8 Capital FM in London played ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ 50 times and follow-up single ‘One Thing’ twice. That works out on average at one play of the band every day. Between 22 February and 18 April the station hasn’t played a single One Direction track, according to the monitoring by Compare My Radio which takes information from ‘Now Playing’ feeds.

When the group’s album became the first ever debut release by a British act to go straight in at the top the US charts, news bulletins on Capital didn’t mention it – despite many of their rival stations highlighting one of the biggest UK music successes in America since The Beatles.

Statistics from CompareMyRadio also show stations like Real Radio play One Direction tracks at an average of more than once a day, with Quidem group stations Touch FM and Rugby FM, UKRD’s Pirate FM and Town and Country’s 106.3 Bridge FM each currently giving the band more than two plays a day. Capital’s main national rival – Radio 1 – aired the group 49 times in 30 days, according to figures at the time of publication of this article. What Makes You Beautiful – the song which won the Best Single prize at the BRITs, sparking the controversy, is still the group’s track that’s most played by all UK radio stations, six months after its release.

Compare My Radio also shows that Bauer Media’s chart stations such as Hallam FM, Radio Aire and Metro Radio – all stations in big city marketplaces where Capital FM is a rival – played One Direction on average once every couple of days during the month to 18th April.

Archived Big Top 40 charts show that One Direction were at number 28 on Sunday 26th February after 5 weeks on the chart with ‘One Thing’. It’s not clear whether the track was played out on the show that week – the Big Top 40 is produced by Global Radio and syndicated across the commercial radio network.

A spokeswoman for Global Radio told us “We never comment on playlist decisions.”

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