A radio station has spent 30 minutes talking about swear words you can’t say on the radio.
inRadio’s News Director Stuart Clarkson helped Station Director Roy Martin work out which words you can and can’t say on-air, whilst talking through the list of expletives. They also interviewed special guest Paul Chantler, who runs a course for radio stations to train presenters on such matters.
The special show, which aired at 10pm Friday night, was in reaction to Ofcom publishing a report on the latest attitudes to offensive language.
Discussion points included the tricks used by broadcasters such as Chris Moyles to push the boundaries, and examples of swearing on BBC Radio 2 by Elton John and George Michael also featured.
Ofcom’s report says viewers and listeners are now less tolerant of racist or discriminatory words and that the ‘watershed’ remains vital for protecting audiences from offensive material.
The research used a mixture of focus groups, in-depth interviews, online surveys and discussions involving people from around the UK. It looked at 144 words, exploring what people were likely to find unacceptable, and the reasons why certain words were judged to be offensive.
For the first time, the study showed that offensive language is generally seen as more problematic on radio than TV. People said they regarded radio as a more intimate medium, often on in the background at home, or where children could be listening without parental control.
Tony Close, Ofcom’s Director of Content Standards Licensing and Enforcement, said: “We set and enforce rules to protect viewers and listeners from potentially harmful and offensive content on TV and radio. To do this, it’s essential that we keep up to date with what people find offensive, and what they expect of broadcasters.
“These findings will help us strike a balance between protecting audiences from unjustified offence, especially before the watershed, and allowing broadcasters to reflect the real world.”
Ofcom has also published a quick reference guide to offensive words and gestures for broadcasters, to help them judge what is likely to cause offence.
Listen to the full 30-minute discussion below – not suitable for family listening from the start.