Ofcom Hits TalkSPORT For Featuring Sponsor In Talk Program
September 13, 2010 at 2:57 PM (PT)
U.K. radio regulator OFCOM has ruled that the OCTOBER 10th, 2008 edition of JON GAUNT's show, then on UTV Sports-Talk TALKSPORT, breached the broadcast code by emphasizing topics and guests related to a sponsor. The show, airing from the HOTEL ALMYRA in CYPRUS, included interviews with a director of the THOMSON OPI development company, a representative from another Cypriot development company ARISTO DEVELOPERS, and golfer TONY JACKLIN, who was designing a golf course for ARISTO; THOMSON OPI represented ARISTO for investment and sales opportunities.
The agency received complaints that the show amounted to advertising for THOMSON OPI and ruled that "the commercial agreement TALKSPORT had entered into with THOMSON OPI gave rise to broadcast content that dissolved the necessary distinction between editorial and advertising."
TALKSPORT was also found to have breached the code in a similar fashion on three APRIL 2006 GAUNT shows from SPAIN, on which the FOOTBALL VILLAGE development was promoted. In both cases, GAUNT, who now hosts an online show for THE SUN newspaper, said that the contracts were between the station and the sponsor and that he was not in control of the topics or content and had no financial interest in the sponsors or their developments.
Also found in breach of the code was ORION MEDIA LTD. Oldies GOLD/BIRMINGHAM's "THE SPORTS BAR," which aired a long interview with a spokesperson for the MIDLANDS MUSIC FESTIVAL that promoted ticket sales. While OFCOM decided that the interview was not with a paid sponsor and did not breach that part of the code, the interview gave "undue prominence" to the event and did not mention the station's involvement with the event.
Asian radio station BUZZ ASIA/LONDON was not found in breach of the code in a contest in which a host misread a quiz question, saying "which country hosted the WORLD CUP in 2010?" instead of "in 2006?" The host's mistake was ruled a "genuine error."