Oxford’s JACK fm has been found in breach of the Broadcasting Code for an ident which made reference to the Germanwings flight 9525.
The flight crashed into the French Alps, killing all 150 people on board. It was revealed two days later that co-pilot Andreas Lubitz deliberately caused the incident.
Just hours after the details of the co-pilot’s actions emerged, a listener heard an ident saying: “Jack FM: As dependable as a Germanwings co-pilot” along with the theme tune to Ski Sunday.
When Ofcom investigated, the station said “listeners not only understand this sense of humour, but listen to the station for this reason” but confirmed it was only played once.
The station said that, while tragic, the news story did not directly affect anyone living in the area to which it broadcasts. It disputed that the ident was offensive, but highlighted that after the initial broadcast it decided that it was “in poor taste”, so it acted immediately to remove it.
The Licensee said that this decision was taken before the station had received any complaints from listeners, and as soon its Chief Executive Officer had heard the content. The Licensee said that the station has since reviewed its procedure in terms of transmitting “edgy content”, and has introduced an extra layer of review as part of the process of editorial approval. It added that it was never the intention of the station to cause offence.
Ofcom decided the ID clearly had the potential to cause considerable offence and found the station in breach of Rule 2.3 of the Broadcast Code. “We considered that the level of offence was increased by the fact that the station had chosen as background music to accompany the ident, the theme music to Ski Sunday,” Ofcom said.