CFM has been found in breach of Ofcom rules for the way it broadcast commercial-type messages in its news bulletins about an local concert .
The Bauer station was highlighting the Carlisle JLS gig in bulletins, including details of where listeners could buy tickets. And whilst this is not prohibited by Ofcom, the regulator took the view that listeners would have considered the story to be a commercial message after a complaint was received.
On investigation, Ofcom worked out the CFM made 76 references to the concert, including 34 of which were paid for and 22 were in news bulletins. “Given the extent to which Carlisle Radio gave the concert, around its ticket launch, broadcast exposure on 14 and 15 March 2012, Ofcom is of the view that listeners would have considered that promotional references to the event in non-news programming were commercial references. There were 12 instances on 14 or 15 March 2012 when programming material promoting the concert closely followed promotion of the event in news bulletins. In these circumstances, Ofcom took the view that listeners were also likely to have considered that the promotions of the concert in News were commercial references,” Ofcom said.
In response, Bauer said it “accept[ed] that this overstepped the mark”, adding that Bauer had “used this as an opportunity to refresh [its] training with journalists to highlight [Rule 10.3] in the Broadcasting Code … and ensure that it doesn’t happen again” on any of its radio stations.”
In the end, Ofcom said 12 news bulletins implied that the broadcast of these specific promotional news items were subject to a commercial arrangement, and found the station in breach of Rule 10.3 of the Broadcast Code.