Ofcom has found New Style Radio 98.7 FM in breach of rules regarding offensive language during two shows.
The station, which serves Afro-Caribbean communities in the Winson Green area of Birmingham, aired two songs which drew complaints. The first, broadcast during the Coxson Reggae Playlist on 2nd July around 16.30, contained several references to drug use. The second song, during the DJ Denco show on 21st July at 15.40, had lyrics containing sexual references.
In response to Ofcom’s request for comments, the station’s owners, Afro Caribbean Millennium Centre, said the songs “should not have been broadcast as such material is ostensibly offensive”. It added that the song broadcast on 2 July 2017 was played because the presenter was not “fully aware of the details of the lyrics”. On the song broadcast on 21 July 2017, the Licensee said that the presenter had “inadvertently” played a “dirty” version of it.
Following these incidents, ACMC said it had “made it clear to presenters…we will not accept as an adequate explanation for broadcasting offensive material that the presenter is unaware of the content of the song” and that “we are taking stringent measures to ensure that there is no repetition”. It added that “the infringements were inadvertent and not deliberate”.
Ofcom’s decision on the first song, Medication by Desmond Marley was a prolonged, positive endorsement of cannabis which appeared to condone or encourage the use of the drug. They acknowledged that some of the references to drug use were indirect, but as a whole, the references would be likely to have been understood by older children. Therefore, this broadcast was in breach of Rule 1.10 of the Code.
The second song, Get it on Tonite by Montell Jordan with LL Cool J which included sexual references, Ofcom said that some of them were unlikely to be understood by younger children, but some of the more explicit references were likely to have been understood by older children. Because it was broadcast on a Friday at around 15.40 during term-time, with no prior warning, the decision was a breach of Rules 1.3 and 1.5 of the Code.
In addition to these breaches, on 7 December 2015 and 25 September 2017, ACMC was found in breach of the Code for the broadcast of songs which were unsuitable for children at a time when they would particularly be likely to be listening. In view of the breaches in the present case, Ofcom is requesting that ACMC attend a meeting to discuss its compliance in this area.