KLFM in breach for commercial mentions in news

Ofcom has investigated after a complainant said Norfolk-based UKRD station KLFM referenced some local businesses during its news bulletins on Valentine’s Day.

The station told Ofcom that the mentions of the businesses in its news were not subject to any commercial arrangement. It said the items were broadcast on 14th February 2018 “in an attempt to create a creative and entertaining slant on the idea of ‘romance’,” but accepted that it was inappropriate to mention specific businesses in the coverage.

KLFM told the regulator that the aim of the broadcast had been to present a story that tried to balance impartiality while showing how proud they are to live in West Norfolk and of the people and businesses there.

It accepted that the news editor may have over-stepped the line but emphasised that it was done out of misplaced enthusiasm and that additional training had been given.

Ofcom’s decision was that the repeated reference to these businesses gave them unjustified prominence, especially as the reporter asked listeners to suggest alternatives on the station’s Facebook page but didn’t mention any of the suggestions on air. The regulator said listeners were likely to have assumed that the references to specific businesses had been made as a result of commercial arrangements and it was therefore a breach of Rule 10.3 of the Broadcasting Code.

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  1. Radio Geordie says

    You know what makes me laugh about this story?
    ITV have been dressing up adverts for ITV shows as news items for years and yet OFCOM have never stepped in to stop this practice. Even the BBC are getting away with it.
    Surely the rules for radio are the same as they are for TV?

    1. Bob says

      You do know there’s a difference between promoting programmes (i.e. trailers) and promoting businesses (i.e. commercials)?

      Promoting your own programmes on your output is not the same as promoting businesses!

  2. Joe Smith says

    But you have to remember OFCOM are a ludicrous organisation without any integrity.

    1. D says

      The same OFCOM that takes cash from big business to allow the flex in rules to ensure an unfair advantage is gained over the little people.

  3. neal says

    Totally agree Joe. Question is how many of us have to go on pointing this out and how long before anything is done to stop OFCOM’s never ending attitude of kicking the small guys while the big guns continue to forever get away with it !!

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