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RSL in Big trouble with Ofcom

A community radio station broadcasting via a Restricted Service Licence has been found in breach of two Ofcom licence conditions.

Big FM, which was on-air in Leeds from December 8th 2008 until January 4th 2009, had two complaints made against it about comments made by a Big FM presenter, on December 15th 2008. The complainants said the presenter had made derogatory comments of a racial nature about a number of business owners in the community.

Ofcom asked Big FM for a recording of the programme to assess its content, but after numerous attempts to obtain the audio, the regulator was not happy with the outcome, and was unable to judge the output as broadcast.

Big FM was found in breach of licence condition 8, Part 2 General (Retention and Production of recordings) and licence condition 9 (Failure to supply adequate recordings).

Full Story:

[blockquote]Ofcom’s first request for a recording was made in writing on 19 December 2008. This request was followed by two telephone calls to the station on 13 January and 5 February 2009. During these conversations Big FM gave Ofcom assurances firstly that the recording had been sent, and secondly that a further copy would be dispatched immediately. When no recording was received by Ofcom, it sent a final written request on 11 February 2009.

Ofcom received two recordings on 23 February 2009, which were labelled 24 December 2008 and 2 January 2009. The station manager called on 24 February 2009 to check that the recordings had arrived. During this conversation Ofcom confirmed that it had received the recordings but that none was for the correct date. The station manager confirmed the correct recording would be delivered within 48 hours.

Ofcom received a recording on 12 March 2009, much later than the deadline promised. When Ofcom reviewed the recording, it comprised three audio tracks. Ofcom could find no derogatory references as described by the complainants, but did identify apparent gaps between the tracks. When Ofcom contacted Big FM for an explanation the station manager explained this was due to limited recording facilities, but that the content described by the complainants was not broadcast in any case. [/blockquote]

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