Glastonbury radio station breaks Ofcom rules

A Glastonbury Festival radio station broke Ofcom rules by releasing an unedited version of a song that contained “offensive language”, the broadcasting regulator ruled.

Worthy 87.7 FM played Little Simz’s track ‘Miss Understood’ on 23 June at 18:41 BST, which contained two words deemed offensive, one of which was “racially offensive”. [vía BBC News].

The broadcaster apologized for the mistake, but not immediately after playing the song, as the hosts did not notice. The lack of an immediate on-air apology was seen as a “serious” factor in Ofcom’s ruling that the words could cause offence.

He criticized the station for broadcasting the song at a time when there was a particular chance that it would be heard by children and that listeners of all ages would not expect to hear it” and also ruled that the use of racially offensive language was not justified by the context .

The station only plays music from artists who have performed or performed at the Somerset festival. The presenters searched the radio’s computer, not realizing that they were looking for all songs, not just radio-safe ones. The song was not in the playback library and was found in an “uncompromised electronic folder of tracks containing profanity.” However, the presenters did not realize that they were searching the whole computer and so they gave the song a good name.

Worthy FM licensee Joanne Schofield apologized during the investigation and told Ofcom that changes would be made, including stronger compliance checks in light of the incident. Also, for years to come, the computer will only contain saved songs and the studio will be treated as a closed set to minimize any distractions for the presenter.

They added that the broadcast desk will have Internet access to ensure that only broadcast content is played, and that only authorized people will be able to add content to the computer, with daily reminders of equipment checks.

So far, only one act has been announced for next year’s edition of Glastonbury. Elton John will close the festival at the Pyramid Stage on Sunday 25 June, in what will be the last UK show of his latest tour.

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