Three radio stations in breach with Ofcom over offensive language

Eruption Radio, Link FM and Mighty Radio have all been found in breach of their licences this week for broadcasting offensive language.

The incidents happened between April and September 2021 during breakfast shows.

Eruption Radio, a DAB service in Bristol, Cambridge and Ireland playing dance music, had six complaints.

The broadcast in question included DJ Andy Clockwork saying, “F*** the haters”, and several uses of the word “n****” in two music tracks. In addition, the track “Shook Ones, Part II” by Mobb Deep was played twice.

The first time the track was played it contained three uses of the word “n****” and the second time the track was played it contained two uses of the word “n****”. The music track “Shutterbugg” by Big Boi contained five uses of the word “n****”.

Eruption Radio said it took the event very seriously and suspended the presenter, who later resigned as a director. An apology was also broadcast and changes were made to procedures to stop it happening in future.

Link FM, owned by the Pakistan Muslim Centre Sheffield and operating on FM with a community radio licence, played the song “Still on Deen” by Khaleed Saddiq.

This song also contained the N word, to which the station said it had played in error. The station told Ofcom that the presenter who played it was late for their show and opened the wrong music folder. They were later suspended.

However, the presenter in question also replied to Ofcom saying they were shocked by the station’s response, saying they were never late for the show. They added that there has been a mis-management of the music database which had led to this situation.

The presenter said that they regretted and apologised for the broadcast of this track, but stated that “this track was played by me with innocence, and no malice”.

Finally, Mighty Radio, a DAB service from Southport, accidently played “What Time is Love?” by KLF, which contains two uses of the word “mother******”.

The station said the presenter didn’t hear the first use of the word as they were taking off their headphones, and argued the second instant didn’t happen, but further investigations confirmed there were indeed two. The station added if the presenter had heard the second use, an apology would have been issued straight away.

The Licensee also referred to Ofcom’s publication on 22 September 2021 of its Public attitudes towards offensive language on TV and radio research, and highlighted that this research shows an ongoing trend of increasingly relaxed attitudes about the use of swear words on TV and radio.

However, Ofcom confirmed two uses of the most offensive language when children were likely to be listening on a community radio station, with a wide-ranging audience was clearly capable of causing a high level of offence.