The trading name of a holding group owning many regional radio stations in England. Until the partial deregulation of radio broadcasting in Britain in the mid-1980s Capital Radio held the licence to be the independent music broadcaster for London. As its only ofiicial competition was BBC Radio London (as well as Radio 1, a national broadcaster, and a bewieldering array of pirate radio stations which came and went), and a potential audience of 12-15 million people, Capital became one of the country's leading radio stations. Many television personalities started out on radio, and the usual route to fame and fortune was: local station -> Capital -> television.

With the coming of the 1980s two things happened. The regulations concerning the radio market in the UK were greatly relaxed combined with the "Greed Is Good" philosophy of the Thatcher/Reagan years meant that the board of Capital Radio embarked on a voracious acquisition scheme. They split their own station into two brands: Capital FM continued the classic mix of pop and the occasional more challenging song, and Capital Gold took over their AM wavelength broadcasting golden oldies to the nation's capital. As they started buying other radio stations around the UK: Manchester's Piccadilly Radio and Newcastle's Metro FM being two of the major stations which were introduced to Capital's mind-numbing mix of inoffensive music. I've also been told (thanks martin) that they've now acquired the Glasgow/Edinburgh station Beat 106, which presumably gives them a major presence north of the border.

Capital's plans for total domination of Britain's radio stations continue apace: they have now bought enough local radio stations to be brought to the attention of the Monopolies and Mergers Commission, but not before they managed to get hold of XFM, the only major broadcaster left in London who were prepared to play non-mainstream music. Now that XFM is owned by Capital the only alternative to Britney and her ilk is to listen to either the small neighbourhood stations, or to the pirates.

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