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Planet Rock in breach over sung F-words

Digital station Planet Rock has been found in breach of the broadcast code by Ofcom after twice broadcasting songs that included the F-word.

The regulator received complaints about the broadcasts of offending tracks by Foo Fighters and the Rolling Stones last autumn.

Ofcom was alerted to the broadcast on 25 October 2011 of the song ‘Word Forward’ by the Foo Fighters which twice included the lyric “they’re just fucking words”. A second complainant alerted Ofcom to the broadcast on 23 November 2011 of the track ‘Some Girls’ by the Rolling Stones, which contained the lyric: “…black girls want to get fucked all night…”.

The first was aired at 9.17am on a Tuesday, while the second was around 7pm on a Wednesday.

In the case of the Foo Fighters track, Planet Rock said the song was broadcast as a result of human error – it wasn’t in the playout database and was played as part of a listener-selected feature. The station said the presenter – Rob Birnie – had ‘quite naturally assumed the song to be acceptable as it was in his running order.’ No apology was made on air as the presenter didn’t want to draw attention to the offensive language, Planet Rock told the regulator.

The second instance saw the Rolling Stones track broadcast as part of a promotion for the re-release of the band’s 1978 album ‘Some Girls’. Planet Rock said the song wasn’t in rotation and was played without the necessary lyric checks being made.

Following the complaints, Planet Rock says it has now introduced a new compliance procedure which means that two members of staff have to check a song before it can be broadcast and there’s a daily check to approve songs for broadcast.

Read the Ofcom ruling in full in today’s Broadcast Bulletin.

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