Tuesday, June 10, 2008

MTV in trouble again

Given the huge fine levied against MTV for constant swearing and daytime rudery, you'd at least think they're being more careful now.

Unfortunately, not so. Indeed, in the same edition of the Ofcom report which details the fine, the very next item is, erm, a slap on the wrist for MTV's Freeview service TMF:

This programme contained several instances of graphic sexual discussion, for example David Gest asked if he could use the word ‘cunnilingus’ and then gave a description of how he had performed it. There was also a conversation about penis size and the age and way in which one interviewee started "wanking". Ofcom considers that this material was inappropriate for the time of broadcast when children were likely to be watching and that it was not justified editorially.

To be honest, David Gest acting out cunnilingus is probably inappropriate for anyone with eyes.

The complaints against the programme actually were considered as part of the decision to fine MTV, and to be fair that's the reason why it appears next to the sanction report in the Ofcom bulletin.

Also in this month's round-up of regulatory fun, Ofcom returns to GCap's Ocean FM station in Southampton. Back in November, the radio company was given a yellow card because it was ignoring its licence requirement to play mainly new, adult contemporary music. Then, it was barely managing one out of every twenty tracks from the last twelve months. How is it doing now?
In its January 2008 sampling, Ofcom noted that Ocean FM was now playing a considerably higher proportion of current tracks than during the previous sampling period in October 2007. However, while there had been an improvement in January 2008, the three days of monitored output revealed that tracks from the past twelve months still accounted for less than half of the station’s music output. We could not, therefore, take the view that Ocean FM was providing the listener with “predominately” current tracks, as the Format required.

We also noted that Ocean FM was continuing to play a significant number of rock tracks that could not be considered Adult Contemporary. Such rock tracks included
Muse/Starlight; Arctic Monkeys/Fluorescent Adolescent; Foo Fighters/Long Road To Ruin; Killers/Read My Mind; The Who/Squeezebox; The Jam/That’s Entertainment.

The overall effect was to continue to give the station an older-leaning, rock-oriented
feel which we consider remained at odds with Ocean FM’s core Format promise and so reduced the overall choice available to listeners in South Hampshire.

So, that's being caught breaching the promise twice. So what are Ofcom going to do?

Um... come back in three months and sample again - having spent some time pondering the meaning of "mainly" and listening to GCap's explanation that they're tagging the music in their library with "genres" (just like on iTunes) to make sure that South Hampshi'ites have somewhere to turn without being hit by too much rock music. And if they haven't sorted it out by autumn, why... Ofcom will be really cross then.

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