Cash Call, the twice weekly quiz show networked on GCap Media stations has generated one complaint from a listener who couldn't work out if the show networked nationally. Ofcom resolved the matter after GCap agreed to include the phrase 'across the UK' in future shows.
The show is hosted by James Bassam and Nigel Mitchell each Sunday and Monday evening on the One network. It is produced by Somethin' Else and Optimistic Entertainment.
In their response to the complaint GCap detailed the local references that were made in the initial programme, which were aired as drop-ins (pre-recorded material slotted into the networked output) by each individual ‘One Network’ station. However, GCap admitted that there were no aired references to the show being networked. It confirmed that this was due to an oversight by the production company and that the matter was discussed when the first show was reviewed. Subsequent programmes therefore referred to the output being broadcast, “across the UK.” GCap then clarified that, to ensure fairness to listeners (i.e. potential competition participants), it had instigated a policy of matching each aired local reference with a corresponding reference to the programme being broadcast “across the UK.”
In assessing this complaint Ofcom considered Rule 2.11 of the Broadcasting Code which requires that, “competitions should be conducted fairly…”.
Ofcom listened to the programme and heard the local references that were included and subsequently detailed by GCap in their response to the complaint. However, for competitions to be run fairly, listeners should be given sufficient information to decide whether or not to participate. When run simultaneously on various local/regional services, competitions can result in participation being spread wider (i.e. beyond the local area) than might be obvious to listeners in any one area.
Broadcasters should not give listeners the impression that a competition is running less widely than it actually is. When a competition is run across the UK but appears on a local station, it is important that listeners, who may wish to enter, are aware that they will be competing nationwide. Otherwise listeners may reasonably believe that it is a local competition.
In the initial broadcast, GCap omitted any reference to the programme being networked across more than one station. In the circumstances, Ofcom welcomed the appropriate review and prompt action taken by GCap to rectify its mistake.
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