Monday, June 12, 2006


Following a stinging Ofcom enquiry into two Chris Moyles shows, Radio One has announced that presenters who swear on-air in future will be disciplined, and two slips will lead to a financial penalty.

Of course, with Chris Moyles earning £630,000 a year, he can afford to drop three fucks and cunt every year. Indeed, they might even prove to be tax-deductable.

Ofcom was reporting back after complaints that Moyles introduced whores, twats and fucking to his show.

The presenter invited female listeners to text in and say whether they urinated in the shower. A large number of texts were received and the presenter said: “Thank you very much ladies, I shouldn’t really say ladies – you all pee in the shower, you dirty whores.”. Although its use was clearly meant to be light-hearted, this is a word which research suggests is found offensive, particularly by women. Its use, while intended to be humorous, was inappropriate for a breakfast programme that attracts a child audience and in breach of Rule 1.5.

The use of the words “piss” and “twat” [by a guest] was not altogether suitable in this context, when children were particularly likely to be listening. However, we acknowledge that the presenter had asked the guest not to swear. We also welcome the reminder given to production teams about how to deal with language from contributors. We consider the matter resolved.

While the use of the word “fucking” was clearly a slip of the tongue and was followed by a number of apologies, it was nevertheless unacceptable, given the context and that audience figures suggest, as it was still half-term for some schools, 46000 children were still listening to the programme from 09:30-10:00. This was in breach of Rule 1.14.

The most interesting one of these, of course, is the casual use of "whore" to describe women - call a ringtone gay, and you get three or four newspaper columnists calling for your dismissal; describe women as whores and... well, there was a curious silence, to say the least.

The same Ofcom report also upholds complaints against Scott Mills' show, in the form of his "wind-up" calls:

On this occasion, the co-presenter called the woman pretending to be from an after-school club that her young son was due to attend. When the co-presenter said that he had called to explain the club’s rules, understandably, she was keen to ensure that she understood the rules that her son would have to abide by. She went off to get a pen to write the rules down. Then the co-presenter started to speak in an overtly aggressive manner, swearing (although this was bleeped for broadcast) and using offensive language to describe the rules of the club, which included: Rule 1: ‘I don’t take any shit [bleeped]’; Rule 2; ‘Shut the fuck up [bleeped]’. At this point he told her that she might want to pass that particular rule onto her ‘little shit [bleeped]’. The woman was shocked and clearly objected, particularly as her son was in the room (at one point she could be heard asking her son to go into another room).

Given the circumstances, the call made for, at the least, very uncomfortable listening. Although the swearing was bleeped, the frequency and severity of the language was clear. Furthermore, the tone of the call was aggressive and unpleasant. Ofcom had not received a complaint from the mother, and so whether permission was given by her to broadcast the conversation was not a matter of this investigation. Nevertheless, she clearly appeared at the time of the broadcast to be distressed, angry and upset.

Elsewhere, MTV gets told off for showing the Justin Timberlake-Nelly Playboy video during the day on TMF ("Nevertheless, we have some concerns regarding the licensee’s compliance record. This is the third scheduling error made by TMF within a seven month period – and the sixth in two years."); as we suggested when it happened, E4's daytime showing of a Hard-Fi gig went down badly.

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