talkSPORT misses Andy Gray swearing gaff
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talkSPORT misses Andy Gray swearing gaff

talkSPORT have admitted breaching Ofcom’s Broadcasting Code when presenter Andy Gray swore on-air, and failed to apologise as the incident went un-noticed.

It wasn’t picked up by talkSPORT’s presenters or producers at the time of the broadcast, however Ofcom subsequently received a complaint from a listener.

In a handover chat in August, Richard Keys asked Gray to choose the better partnership of football strikers.. talkSPORT’s breakfast presenter Alan Brazil and his Ipswich Town team-mate Paul Mariner, or Andy Gray and his Everton team-mate Graeme Sharp.

talkSPORT told the regulator: “Someone breathed loudly into the mic as Gray muttered under his breath ‘err…f**king hell…err’…and then answered the question.” The station said that the producer of the programme did not hear the phrase, and would have used its time delay to dump the language if it had been audible. Meanwhile Andy Gray thought he was not speaking directly into the microphone at the time, and the other presenters thought he said ‘flippin’ hell’.

The show’s producer only became aware of the language used after a colleague told him hours after the incident, and because of this, no apology was broadcast during the programme. The station also failed to spot two emails which complained about the language being used, and said that this was missed among the “hundreds of emails, texts and tweets” received during the show.

TalkSPORT also told Ofcom that “during a handover period there can be up to seven production staff from both programmes in a control room at one time discussing programme issues and this heightened activity could lead to such matters in a live programme not being picked up.”

Since the incident, talkSPORT’s Programme Director, Moz Dee, has asked “for everyone in the studio and control room to concentrate on listening to live output at all times, particularly during hectic peaks such as handovers”. Dee has also “made clear that production staff working on the next programme should not enter the control room and begin to take over until pre-recorded material is being played out”.

Ofcom said that it did not consider that listeners to talkSPORT would expect “the most offensive language” to be used during an exchange between experienced presenters in the morning. It also noted “that even after the offensive language had been brought to Talksport staff’s attention subsequently both by a colleague and two emails from listeners, no apology was broadcast… Ofcom considers that an error of this nature made by a presenter would require an apology at the earliest opportunity to mitigate any offence caused.”

Ofcom found talkSPORT in breach of its Rule 1.14, which states that the most offensive language must not be broadcast on radio when children are particularly likely to be listening; and Rule 2.3, that the potential offence was not justified by the context.

0 6 962 19 November, 2012 Station News Monday, November 19th, 2012


  1. Mark Gale

    Back to the days of Talk Radio when studio discipline was NO ONE in the studio other than those working on that show! Strict, but it worked. Unfortunately over the years rules have become more relaxed. It’s very easy to become distracted in these environments, i’ve worked in both and it should be all ears, all the time by at least one member of production staff or more.

    No excuses but unfortunately things can be misheard in a live situation especially if mumbled. Ofcom can sit and listen to it over and over til they confirm what was said.

  2. Richard Coghall

    I am amazed they only got done on this. This station continually slips into and out of editorial and sponsorship yet nobody at Ofcom is listening. I am surprised to learn they have producers (of sorts).

    1. MB

      On 28 February 2011 Ofcom relaxed the rules so that commercial (paid-for) references to products and services integrated within radio shows are now permitted. The only exceptions to this rule are news and children’s programming.

      That’s why the station is not in breach of Ofcom’s code.

      1. Richard Coghall

        Yes these are new Section 10 Codes but they appear to have interpreted them to suit themselves and btw I don’t blame them. Above all the inclusion should be transparent. As it stands this station is in serious breach.

  3. steve

    Or how about Wow he said a rude word..Who cares? Its 2012 and dont tell me children will be warped by one F word they hear it all the time.

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