Birmingham based Asian station, Radio XL has been rapped by media regulator, Ofcom for failing to make signpost commercial references during a paid interview.
The show ‘Ek Sawal’, which airs weekday at 11:00, was put under the scanner for an episode broadcast on 14th October 2015, which featured an interview with a senior medical officer from the Chinese Hospital.
Ofcom noted that, as the senior medical officer responded to callers�۪ questions, he detailed how to contact the Chinese Hospital, providing its address and telephone numbers, together with his personal mobile number. Among other things, he also explained that, although his initial consultation was free, tests such as an ECG or ultrasound were chargeable. Further, he offered guidance on what visitors to the hospital should be prepared to pay for treatments.
Ofcom noted that, although sponsorship credits were broadcast as part of the programme trails for ‘Ek Sawal’, none were broadcast in or around the programme itself. Further, during
‘Ek Sawal’, neither the presenter nor the studio guest referred at any time to the programme being sponsored.
A spokesperson from Radio XL told Ofcom, ���sponsorship credits were broadcast on the day before and the morning of the programme [when] appropriate signalling was done between 9am and 11am to inform the listeners that [EkSawal] was a sponsored programme�.
Ofcom said programme trails for ‘Ek Sawal’, which included sponsorship credits for the Chinese Hospital, were broadcast the previous day and at 09:46, 10:15 and 10:51 on the morning of the programme�۪s broadcast. Ofcom therefore accepted that, due to the signalling of the commercial arrangement during programme trails, some listeners to ‘Ek Sawal’ (i.e. those who also happened to have heard one or more of the programme trails) may have remembered that programme was sponsored by the Chinese Hospital.
However, Ofcom considers it essential that, to ensure adequate transparency, all listeners recognise when specific programming is subject to, or associated with, a commercial arrangement. Ofcom did not consider the references to the commercial arrangement (i.e. sponsorship credits) made in programme trails for ‘Ek Sawal’ were sufficient to ensure listeners were aware of the sponsorship arrangement in place at the time the programme was broadcast.
Ofcom concluded that, as no reference was made in and around ‘Ek Sawal’ to the fact that it was sponsored by the Chinese Hospital, Central had failed to signal appropriately to listeners that the broadcast of the programme was subject to a commercial arrangement.