Northsound 1 has run into trouble with Ofcom after a Eurovision competition went wrong.
In April, the Aberdeen-based station ran a competition saying they had “The chance to go to this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, flights, accommodation, show tickets – it’s all there for you.” Ofcom received a complaint from the winner, who discovered that the tickets he had won were not for the Contest itself, but for the dress rehearsal, scheduled for the previous day.
The Bauer station explained that there was no formal written contract for the competition, and that it didn’t know until the competition had ended that the tickets on offer were for the dress rehearsal. Northsound then tried to arrange main event tickets, but as none were available, offered the winner £1,000 in compensation, in addition to the prize on offer.
Ofcom said it was “concerned that the Licensee promoted the competition and described the prize on air without any guarantee from the prize provider (for example through any form of written agreement) about the details of the prize or that it could even be fulfilled.” Ofcom found that its rules were breached, as the competition prize was not described accurately.
Separately, both Northsound 1 and 2, and Original 106 in Aberdeen, breached rules banning political advertising, by broadcasting adverts from campaigners in a local referendum. In total, the three stations played adverts campaigning for and against the redevelopment of a city park over 350 times in February.
The stations argued that the advertisers and the subject of the advertising were non-political, with Northsound adding that it had carried advertising from both sides of the argument, and “therefore gave a balanced view of the project”.
However, Ofcom said that “The ban on political matter in broadcast advertising extends to campaigning, supporting a point of view in an election or referendum and seeking to influence public opinion on controversial matters.” The stations also failed to centrally clear the adverts with the Radio Advertising Clearance Centre, a requirement for adverts on “matters of public controversy”.