Two community radio stations have been found in breach of their Ofcom agreements for not recording their output.
Hitmix Radio in Newcastle-under-Lyme and Cumbernauld FM both blamed technical reasons for their audio recorders not working.
Both stations had complaints made against them but Ofcom was unable to listen to the output in question as a result.
One complaint was received about the broadcast of offensive language during a programme broadcast on the morning of 28 September 2020 at Hitmix Radio.
Hitmix explained that, upon receiving the request for a recording of its output, it found that “Windows did an unexpected download at around 3am and did not complete its downloads and reboot until 9.34am”, which resulted in the logger going offline along with the station’s online stream. However, the service remained on air on FM.
Meanwhile, Ofcom received a complaint about the broadcast of offensive language during a programme broadcast on the morning of 21 October 2020 at Cumbernauld FM.
The Licensee informed Ofcom that it was not able to provide the requested recording because its “recorder had been malfunctioning on that date” and it was not aware of this at the time.
Cumbernauld FM explained that, upon receiving the request for a recording of its output, it found that “while [the recorder] appeared to be recording it wasn’t.” It explained that this was a new piece of equipment bought from a supplier and has now been returned for a replacement. It has since decided to purchase a “more reliable” recorder and “will be running both the software and hardware recorders to ensure this cannot happen again.”
Both stations have been found in breaches of Conditions 8(1) and 8(2)(a) and (b) of Part 2 of the Schedule of their community radio licences.
Ofcom says it expects Licensees to have contingency plans in place to ensure they are able to retain recordings of their output at all times and keep them for 42 days.