Recent BBC Debacle

It cannot have escaped the attention of anyone who maintains even a casual interest in the mainstream media that there has been a lot of coverage recently concerning a pre-recorded phone prank by by Russel Brand and Johnathon Ross that was allowed to air on BBC Radio 2. I’m not going to re-iterate comments of others or the writings of the media but present my own views on the events that unfolded and what this means for radio.

I grew up listening to the radio. At most points during the day when I was a child some radio station or other would be on and I very soon became an avid listener to a wide variety of genres. I attribute my love of the medium and my intense desire to one day present on it myself (which, little did I know at the time, I was to realise in late 2004) to this exposure and the insistence of my parents that the medium was infinitely better than television to extent where I had unlimited access to the radio and none to the television.

I mention all of this because one thing big thing I took away from my childhood experience was that radio was open to all. Presenters were respectful of all audiences and their position in the presenters chair was a privilege, not a right. My parents had no qualms about me selecting my station of choice and listening to my heart’s content from a young age and I feel I benefited immensely from this exposure; both from an enjoyment of music perspective and of the need to understand the goings on in the world at large through speech and debate.

Press coverage surrounding the recent problem has focused on the action or lack thereof from the BBC both before and after the incident and the complaints made from listeners. Personally I think they are missing the point. Radio doesn’t have a watershed like television. This means that all content should be suitable for all. During the short time I was broadcasting this fact was made quite plain to me both through experience and through the OFCOM regulations to which all presenters had to adhere.

Simply put, if content has and is being broadcast on any radio station and at any time that is in bad taste or quite simply offensive, even to one listener, then the enjoyment of the radio that I had as a child and hope my children will have in the future is at very real risk of being curtailed. This is not something we should allow to happen under any circumstances.


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  1. Chris (studioeng) Said,

    November 11, 2008 @ 10:15 am

    More to the point; why was this “pre-recorded” offensive show “allowed” to be broadcast in the first place? That decision was, and always will be the fault of the person who signed the piece of paper at the BBC for it to be broadcast (Was this the person who “resigned”?).

    Now that being said, why has Ross and Brand been treated in this way? Being suspended for the bad judgement of someone else at the BBC! I don’t blame Brand for walking out, I would of done the same thing.

    It would be one thing if this broadcast was live; but it was a pre-recorded show, giving the “quality control” of the BBC; PLENTY of time to check, give people a clip round the ear for being less than par and told to do it again!

    True is; there is far more in this story than people are letting on; and after doing even the smallest amount of research into the people involved; it becomes all the clearer.

    Just my 2 pence.

  2. Michelle Said,

    November 13, 2008 @ 10:57 am

    Apparently the BBC didn’t get that many compaints till the Daily Mail printed the story, although that could be rumour and hearsay… But yeah, I think you agree with the average Daily Mail reader 😛

  3. Kieran Said,

    November 13, 2008 @ 6:40 pm

    If a tree falls in the woods with no one around to hear it, does it make a sound?

    Same goes for the broadcast. Merely knowing it was broadcast is enough of a reason to complain. The fact that few heard it, or that those who did hear it may not have been offended is immaterial.

    And no, I don’t agree with the average Daily Mail reader – you should know that by now 😛

  4. Michelle Said,

    November 14, 2008 @ 12:25 pm

    Well, it isn’t that immaterial… If the 20 minute preview on the porn channel is ranchy, do people complain? Even if they just hear about it? I realise that your point about the watershead takes away from this a little, but don’t tell me no one else has ever sworn on radio. I hear some things on radio at 11am that are just as offensive language and even content wise. I think the problem was that they actually bothered this guy. I don’t disagree that that was wrong, but really, worse things are done to celebrities every day, and normal people. I mean, have you ever heard some of radio aires bits when they ring people up, I mean, they aren’t as openly offensive, but they do nothing but irritate people and try to make them angry for the sake of “comedy” and I can assure you, they are far far less funny (and I didn’t really find the Jonathon Ross and Russel Brand thing funny). Also, have you ever read a tabloid? Probably not, but they are way way worse!! The things they say about people. I mean, it is horrible sometimes, and for them to be causing a stir about this (cause lets face it, they made it news), seams like hippocracy of the worst sort!

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