Complaint upheld against Milton Keynes radio station

Secklow Sounds has been found in breach of the Ofcom Broadcasting Code for playing a sweary version of “Can I have it Like That” by Pharrell – twice.

The community radio service played the unedited song on 19 July 2019 at 14:56 and again on 24 July 2019 at 11:56.

The lyrics included one use each of “bi*ch” and “sh*t” and four uses of the word “ni**er”.

In reaction, the station acknowledged that this type of language was not acceptable to its listeners and said it had and would continue to “purge the library to eradicate such songs”. It also said it had terminated the show in which this music was played.

Investigating the single complaint, Ofcom said the broadcasts, in this case, took place when some children would have been on school summer holidays, and were therefore at a time when children were particularly likely to be listening.

Ofcom found the station in breach of Rules 1.16 and 2.3, and is also currently investigating another breach of licence at the organisation.

Rule 1.16 says that offensive language must not be broadcast when children are likely to be listening to the radio unless it is justified by the context, whilst Rule 2.3 requires that the broadcast of potentially offensive material is justified by the context.

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9 Comments
  1. Lee says

    Global’s Capital FM broadcasted swearing during the time delayed Summertime Ball a few years back and they’ve been in breach of the broadcast code on several occasions but nothing happended to them. I wouldn’t worry too much about OFCOM anyway as they are a toothless regulator, but do be aware though they do treat the big radio groups differently that the smaller groups or stations. The bigger you are the more favourable they treat you.

    1. Jack Daniel says

      That’s not true at all. As long as a station conducts a proper investigation and takes relevant action as soon as they are made aware that it has happened, and keeps this on file, Ofcom will take that into account in determining whether or not the case is resolved.

    2. mb23 says

      There is a big difference between a live broadcast (where a performer decides to start swearing even after they have been warned) and playing a recording. Why is this track in the station’s music library in the first place?

  2. Adrian says

    Continue to purge the library?-if the tracks weren’t playlisted to start with they wouldn’t play.Only one complaint again though.

  3. Steve B says

    I do wonder how offended people need to be to actually make a complaint about things like this. Nothing in life will ever satisfy everyone but the current fashion is to be offended. Just because you’re offended, doesn’t mean you are right, or that your opinion is any more valid than someone else. I don’t like Radio One. So I don’t listen to it. But I don’t complain to Ofcom. Get over yourselves.

    1. Nev jack says

      I agree R1 not for me either,crap music etc(sorry if I offended anyone?)

  4. JoA says

    Played twice and “terminate” the show? Sounds like it was on the playlist. This is interesting about their KC changes
    https://www.ofcom.org.uk/consultations-and-statements/category-3/secklow-sounds-key-commitments-change-request

  5. John says

    Does this mean the Elton John hit single The B*tch is Back is now taboo? Another Melting Point perhaps

    1. jeff c says

      ….or Meredith Brooks from the 90s with a song simply titled B*tch. Sh*t (not a strong word, granted) seems is acceptable as Aitch – Ladbroke Grove is played containing the word repeated several times. A community station would play that track and probably end up in breach.

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