with RCS

Anything Goes for Bishop FM except F-word

County Durham-based community radio station Bishop FM has been found in breach of the Broadcast Code again by Ofcom for the airing of swear words.

The F-word was used on the early evening ‘Anything Goes Show’ during a pre-recorded interview with a band.

Ofcom received a complaint from a listener about the broadcast at 7.40pm on 27th February this year. The show featured two instances of the f-word, eleven seconds apart, although the presenters apologised after the second one:

Presenter 1: “[Inaudible] interview there. I do apologise for that language. I thought Mr. Jones [inaudible]”.
Presenter 2: “I do apologise”.
Presenter 1: “Still, he‟s gone bright red”.
Presenter 2: “I really do apologise for that. Yeah, rock and roll, that’s what they’re like…”.
Presenter 1: “Well, we haven’t heard the track there. We’ll play that one again on Thursday night!”
Presenter 2: “We will”.

The regulator decided that the broadcast breached Rule 2.3 of the Broadcast Code – which states that in applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context, and that appropriate information should be broadcast where it would assist in avoiding or minimising offence.

Bishop FM said that the presenters and the station apologised for any offence caused and told Ofcom that it had put in place steps following a previous licence breach in September 2011 for broadcasting songs with offensive lyrics in – including introducing controls on the content of pre-recorded interviews prior to broadcasting and further training with regard to the Code and the use of offensive language on radio.

In its ruling on the matter, Ofcom said: “This live programme included a pre-recorded interview with members of a band. In this case, two instances of the most offensive language were broadcast, and were clearly audible. We considered that the use of this language was likely to have gone beyond the expectations of the audience for a programme of this type broadcast in the early evening on a community radio station, especially for those in the audience who came across this material unawares. In our view, this was confirmed by: the
apparent attempts taken during the broadcast to dip the sound after each of the instances of offensive language was broadcast; and the on-air apology given by the two presenters in this case. We also took account of the fact that there was no warning given to listeners before this item containing the strong language was
broadcast.”

The regulator concluded: “We welcomed the action to improve compliance taken by Bishop FM. We are concerned that a further similar breach has been recorded against the station, and therefore we would expect no further such instances in future.”

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