Rock FM says sorry for fruity language after listener drops C bomb

Rock FM has been found in breach of its licence conditions after broadcasting a pre-recorded voice note from a listener which contained one of the most offensive swear words.

The incident happened on the Rock FM Breakfast Show with Joel Ross on October 19th 2022, after which multiple apologies were broadcast.

Ofcom received a complaint about the use of the C word in the programme during a segment at around 8:40am. The topic of this segment was whether listeners would go on holiday with their ex-partners and a number of pre-recorded voice notes sent in by listeners were broadcast.

At the end of one of these voice notes, one listener said: “…but that’s probably because my ex is a c***”.

Immediately after this, one of the presenters said: “Oh, you can’t say that! I do apologise, I do apologise for that”.

The presenter then read out more contributions from listeners before cutting to a programme break, at which point he said: “…and I do apologise profusely if you were offended by that fruity language this morning.”

Upon investigation by Ofcom, Bauer Radio said that a voice note that “had not been vetted for air” was incorrectly broadcast despite having a robust process in place to avoid this.

Bauer added that the mistake was a result of “human error by the producer in the studio due to the nature of live radio and trying to achieve a turnaround in a tight time frame”.

The Licensee said that, as a result of this incident, it has added “an extra layer of security where the audio is always loaded into a separate player” to ensure that only vetted content is available for the presenter to select for broadcast. It added that both the presenter and producer “are fully aware of the significance of this issue and are very apologetic.”

Ofcom regards the C word among the most offensive language and requires clear and strong contextual justification.