Capital Disney was a British digital radio station aimed at 8 to 16 year olds which used to broadcast across the UK on DAB Digital Radio (in selected areas). It was also broadcast on Sky Digital, Tiscali TV, Virgin Media, and streaming online. The station announced on 14 May 2007 that it would close down on 29 June 2007, date on which it ceased operations.
About Capital Disney
Capital Disney was owned by GCap Media PLC (previously Capital Radio PLC before the company merged with GWR Group PLC) and was based at GCap Media's London offices in Leicester Square.
The station broadcast twenty four hours a day with a series of presenter and music led programming. It was originally launched as Cube, but Capital Radio and the Walt Disney Company struck a deal in February 2002 which allowed Capital Radio to manage a British Radio service under the Disney Brand, similar to Radio Disney in the United States. The station launched on Digital Radio and Online, with DTV following later (directly replacing Cube). The station launched officially on 12 October 2002, having soft launched the month before on 16 September 2002.
Capital Disney was one of the first radio stations in the country to use the newly developed Digital radio (DAB) format to provide a radio station specifically aimed at children and teenagers.
In 1998 the Capital Radio Group announced plans to launch a kids-only format radio station, bidding for the North East England FM licence (which was won by Galaxy 105-106). Called Fun Radio it was to be a pop station aimed at 8-16 year olds. Despite this failure Capital still had hopes of launching this station, at the time a brand new format for an underserved audience.
The station aired in 2001 under the name of Cube (the name originally chosen for Century London) in several regional areas of England and Wales with a purely new pop music format aimed at young teens. It was seen as a competitor to GWR Group's Core (radio station), which launched two years earlier. Because Cube was on DAB, at the time very few people listened to the service. Cube was noted for its high tempo music-driven formula, coupled with live DJs (A rarity for digital radio- most were voicetracked) and humorous and informative short clips in between the music (Such as 'How Does a Piano Work?') designed to create a learning environment, possibly to curb outside criticism that Cube was just a mindless music station. It shared studio space with Life and Century London and shared Kevin Palmer as the senior manager.
Cube closed down in 2001, only to re-launch as Capital Disney, events included a day of broadcasting from Birmingham and also the start of broadcasting via Free to Air satellite, taking an EPG slot on Sky Digital. The name was chosen as it is a station operated by Capital Radio and co-owned with Disney UK. This co-operation revealed itself on-air with promotions, such as Disney On Ice and promotions for the Disney Channel on television. The jingles at the time of re-launch simply sang the new station's name before changing in 2004, adding the new slogan which stayed with the station to its final days Your Music, Your Way!.
Capital Disney played a range of chart music and new acts. Originally, talking story books could be heard often during school hours, but were replaced by non-stop music from 9am until 1pm and then a DJ, James Beckingham, from 1-4pm, under the name of "Daytime." They also played artists that didn't get any airplay on mainstream radio such as The Lovebites and album tracks from artists that appear on the playlist.
Overnight, Capital Disney played non-stop hits, however previously to this overnight was the home of non-stop chillout music. This ceased in 2003 and now this type of music can be heard on sister station Chill.
The final line up of presenters at closure was Adam Morris, known on air as The General, James Beckingham, Matt James, Val Mellon, Leigh Purves, Nigel Mitchell, Andrew Rendle, known as Radio Rendle, Adam O'Neill, Saffron Oddy and Sophie Bruce. Previous presenters on the station have included Allan Lake, Tim Lichfield, known as Tiger Tim, Korry Denison, Andy Kench, Dan Marsh, Kelli Nelson, Will Chambers, Carl Carter and Gema Ensenat.
In 2004, the station won the NTL Digital Radio station of the year award. In 2005, the station was nominated for and won the Sony Radio Academy award 'Digital Terrestrial Radio Station' of the year, against BBC6 Music and BBC 7. The judges noted that, "Capital Disney gave every appearance of filling a genuine gap in the market with a professional and entertaining service directly meeting the needs of an under-served audience."
In 2006, Capital Disney was nominated for the Sony Radio Academy 'Digital Terrestrial Radio Station Of The Year' award. Planet Rock, another GCap Media station, was presented with the award. The judges noted that, "Capital Disney continues to be warm, funny and inventive without ever patronising its target audience. It was a station of great charm."
It was announced on air on 14 May 2007 that Capital Disney would close down on 29 June 2007. The last presenter led show was broadcast on 1 June. For the remainder of the 28 days of Capital Disney, the station played continuous music. A statement on the Capital Disney website told that 'both parties (GCap Media and The Walt Disney Company) had agreed to pursue their interests individually.'
A number of petitions were started by fans of the station arguing against its closure but these were ultimately unsuccessful.
The station started to leave DAB multiplexes across the UK on 28 June, in most areas being replaced with Traffic Radio or XFM. The last DAB MUX to lose Capital Disney was London CE Digital, with the station being switched off shortly after 1pm on 29 June. In an unintentional move, the final song played by Capital Disney on this DAB MUX was McFly (one of the core Capital Disney artists) singing "Don't Stop Me Now."
Due to an operational freeze at Sky, the station remained on air until 3 July, however, with the original name of 'Cube', as the Walt Disney Company had agreed with GCap Media to only contract their name until 29 June.
The website remained for a short time after presenters were taken off air, but this too was closed on 29 June 2007, replaced by a message and redirect to London's Capital Radio website.
2003 The Station for 21st Century Hits
2004 Your Music, Your Way!
- ^ "Capital Disney confirms closure". Radio Today. 2007-05-14. http://www.radiotoday.co.uk/news.php?extend.1956. Retrieved 2007-05-14.
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