A temporary community radio station has shown little understanding of the compliance code after Ofcom received a complaint about how it ran editorial content for a competition.
Apni Awaaz FM in Bradford operated earlier this year, and was subject to an Ofcom complaint for the way it ran a listener competition feature, sponsored by a local store, New Look Furnishings.
The feature appeared in editorial and started with the broadcast of an advertisement for the sponsor, which was also running in Apni Awaaz FM’s commercial breaks. This was then followed by a presenter asking listeners to phone in if they knew the advertiser’s address. Callers were then brought to air until such time as the correct location was stated on air by a caller.
When asked to respond to the complaint, which was made by a listener who thought the sponsored programming was not clearly separated, the station said: “It was a competition for the children.” and that “No product was promoted.”
The regulator said Apni Awaaz FM’s comment (i.e. “It was a competition for the children.”) not only appeared to be inaccurate but also bore no relevance to the requirement of Rule 10.2, namely that advertising and programming are kept separate.
"This demonstrated that the broadcaster had little understanding of, and possibly little regard for, Code compliance," Ofcom said.
Ofcom also disagreed by the station's comment that no product had been promoted.
Rule 10.2 of the Code states: “Broadcasters must ensure that the advertising and programme elements of a service are kept separate.”
The station was therefore found in breach of three Ofcom rules, and the findings will be held on record and considered in the assessment of any future application by the broadcaster for another licence to broadcast.