Sunrise Radio has come under the scanner by Ofcom for the way it ran a sponsored item on its station in March.

During its ‘Drivetime’ slot at 16:00, Sunrise Radio broadcast its daily ‘Hit Of The Hour’ segment with the following 20-second presenter credit, “This is the Hit of the Hour, brought to you in association with G&B Windows. They۪ve got a special offer going on at the moment, seven windows and one opening, fully fitted, and it۪s only going from 1,399. Why not give them a call? The number is 020 88 67 double 9 double 5, or you can just log on to their website, GandBwindows.com.”

A listener complained to Ofcom that the presenter “read” sounded more like an advert and could have been done in an alternative way, i.e. a sponsorship jingle.

Ofcom has stated in its rules and regulations that, “Credits must be short branding statements. However, credits may contain legitimate advertising messages.”

The Code also states that one of the Principles of the sponsorship rules is “to maintain a distinction between advertising and sponsorship”.

Sunrise Radio said, Rule 9.9 “clearly allows an advertising message to be attributed to the sponsor credit.” It believed that “the message attached to the company branding association in this example falls within this definition.” However, the broadcaster added that, if its interpretation of Rule 9.9 was incorrect, it sought clarification on the matter. Further, if this had led to a breach of the Code, the broadcaster said it had not intended to do so and offered its apologies.

In reply, Ofcom said, “A full sponsor credit should include the sponsor’s name and identify clearly the sponsored programme or feature. A sponsor credit on radio may also contain additional material, some or all of which may be advertising (e.g. a sales message, contact number or web address). However, a sponsor credit on radio should be brief. In general, sponsor credits on radio tend to be less than ten seconds in duration.

In this instance the sponsor credit lasted almost twenty seconds. Ofcom therefore considered that this sponsor credit sounded more like a full advertisement than a brief branding statement.