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Metro in breach of licence

Metro Radio has been found in breach of its licence after a complaint about Alan Robson's Night Owls. A listener complained to the station that he had been treated unfairly in the broadcast. The outcome of the complaint is not the issue, more the fact that Metro failed to keep a copy of the show 42 days after the outcome of the complaint had been resolved.

Ofcom requires radio stations to keep recordings of programmes for 42 days – which Metro did. However, because a complaint was generated, a copy of the show should have been held for 42 days after the complainant has been informed by the broadcaster of the final outcome of his complaint.

It is at this point after the complaint had been resolved with the station, that the listener then made a fairness and privacy complaint to Ofcom.

Ofcom therefore asked the broadcaster to provide a copy of the programme Night Owls, to facilitate investigation of the grounds of a fairness and privacy complaint. Emap Radio, which owns Metro Radio, said it was unable to provide Ofcom with a copy.

Emap assumed that because Ofcom’s request was made more than 42 days after the date of broadcast, no provision of a recording copy to Ofcom was necessary. As a consequence, the station did not provide a copy of the broadcast upon request. After subsequent investigation by the Head of Regulatory Affairs, Emap Radio confirmed that Metro Radio had in fact retained a copy of the programme.

Ofcom said: "The failure of the broadcaster to do so resulted in Ofcom being unable to entertain the complaint in this case. Failure to supply on request the recording of 18 December 2006 was a serious and significant breach of Metro Radio’s licence. This will be held on record."


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