Ofcom’s latest Broadcast Bulletin, published today, opens with numerous complaints about Chris Moyles’ breakfast show.
The three instances – including one in which Moyles, at 08:42 on 17th January 2006, called the women who had text in to say that they urinate in the shower “dirty whores” – attracted a swath of complaints from listeners and have prompted the BBC to review their disciplinary stratergy to deal with presenters who step out of line. On another occasion, a listener objected to the words “piss” and “tw**” being used during an interview on Valentine’s Day.
Just six days later on the 20th February, Moyles strategy to a listener who had called in: “You’ve got some kids from some f***ing…”
He quickly realised his mistake and apologised profusely, but Ofcom’s decision is based on a possible 46,000 children listening to the show at the time of the outburst. The regulator decided that the occasion breached rule 1.14, “The most offensive language must not be broadcast before the watershed or when children are particularly likely to be listening.”
Ofcom report that the BBC have assured them that since these programmes were broadcast, new procedures have been introduced by Radio 1. In future, presenters who accidentally swore or used other offensive language on air would be subject to disciplinary measures. Should this happen twice within twelve months, the presenter would suffer a financial penalty. Programme teams had also been reminded of the existing guidance on how to deal with offensive language from contributors, which included the possibility of persistent offenders being taken off air.
The BBC said that the Controller of Radio 1 has raised the issue of language with this presenter, who had given an assurance that his use of language would be more carefully managed. The Controller would continue, as part of his wider communication with presenters and staff, to emphasise the need to maintain a careful balance between creating an entertaining and authentic service for young listeners and using language that might cause harm and offence to others.