Birmingham based Asian broadcaster, Radio XL has had a telling off by media regulator, Ofcom after it came in breach of two rules – one of during a “live-read” and the other over a sponsorship credit.
This incident, which took place in October, last year during the station’s ‘Drivetime’ show was pulled up by Ofcom after the show’s presenter read an advertorial about “vacant office space in West Bromwich”.
A listener found the “presenter…blatantly plugging office space/rooms for letting…disruptive in [Radio XL۪s] usual programming”, adding that “it wasn۪t even a sponsorship or an advert … it was the presenter announcing it.”
Whilst Ofcom permits “live-reads”, the station must adhere to the rules of advertising and programme elements being kept separate.
Radio XL confirmed that the promotional material in question was a presenter read and paid-for advertisement. It also admitted there was “no separation” but claimed the nature of the output was transparent to listeners, as no attempt had been made “to disguise [the] material as normal programming.”
Ofcom found the station in breach of 10.2 of its code of conduct.
During this investigation, Ofcom also noted that Radio XL’s weather sponsorship jingle contained more than the allowed information of the client (i.e. special rates of company in question). Ofcom said, “Credits must be short branding statements. However, credits may contain legitimate advertising messages.”
Ofcom noted Radio XL۪s view that the consistent music-bed throughout the opening sponsor credit, the weather update and the ‘end tag’ (i.e. the promotional message for the sponsor) demonstrated a link between the material surrounding the weather bulletin itself.
Ofcom did not consider that the music-bed was sufficient to remind the listener of any sponsorship arrangement.
Ofcom further noted that the promotional message lasted 17 seconds.
Ofcom therefore considered that the sponsor credit sounded more like a full advertisement than a brief branding statement. The sponsor credit was therefore in breach of Rule 9.9 of the Code.