Glasgow station Clyde 1 has been held in breach of Rule 6.4 of the Ofcom Code, after ‘Superscoreboard’ presenters discussed voting on election day.
Ofcom received four complaints about the football show, hosted by Peter Martin and Graeme Spiers, claiming that one of the presenters had actively endorsed support for the Labour party.
The programme was broadcast in the evening, prior to polls closing at 22:00 and included an exchange on how the presenters had voted, or intended to vote in the General Election; and how other well-known Scottish personalities would be casting their votes.
Rule 6.4 of the Code states: “Discussion…of election and referendum issues must finish when the poll opens.”
Bauer Radio, who own the Scottish station, accepted that the broadcast was in breach. They also assured Ofcom that they had in place “thorough procedures” concerning election coverage, and that initial guidelines were issued well ahead of the election, as well as repeated reminders in the run up to and on polling day itself.
Bauer added that the comments were not an attempt to canvass for any political party, but rather were “a lighthearted view to make the sports show more topical”. They also told the regulator that both presenters were reprimanded and taken off-air for a period of time and that they both “deeply regret entering into a conversation about the election which they recognise showed a considerable lack of judgement and awareness on their part”.
In reaching its decision, Ofcom noted Bauer’s statement that the exchange between the presenters was intended to be “lighthearted” and Bauer’s acceptance that there was a breach of the Code on this occasion, and ruled the broadcaster in breach of Rule 6.4.
Here’s the full exchange between Peter Martin (PM), and his co-presenter, Graeme Spiers (GS):
GS: “Peter, listen, never mind this, have you cast your vote?”
PM: “Well, I’m going to…I ’m going to…I’m going to now cast a vote within the next hour.”
GS: “Not one hour ago, I put a large cross beside the Kirkcaldy Minister’s son.”
GS: “Who you’re going to vote for?”
PM: “Is it…is it something…Labour! Is it something you keep quiet, or is it something…?”
GS: “Well, people think you do keep quiet about it, people get tetchy about it. Who do you think…who do you think Walter Smith will vote for? Who do you think Lennon will vote for?”
PM: “Let me tell you: Labour, both of them. Not a shadow of doubt. Walter Smith, his background. It’s an absolute stonewall certainty. We don’t even have to take calls”.