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Promotional ideas and technique. Always radio, always positive.

Everything changes?

Take That

We thought we’d heard the last of the old Ofcom broadcast code but, rather like Take That, it has just regrouped for one last tour and thrown up some interesting new material.

Birmingham’s brmb has just received a minor slap about the face for saying “…and you can get tickets at brmb.co.uk from Friday morning” after a news story about Take That’s concert there.

Station owner Orion calls it a factual statement. Ofcom decided it was a commercial message.

As we know, even the new code doesn’t allow commercial messages “in or around” news bulletins so such a mention would remain in breach. However, if the Take That story was billed as entertainment, not news, then under today’s rules the station would be in the clear.

This ruling, while hardly earth-shattering, exposes a curious facet of the legislation, especially when Ofcom fully endorses brmb’s editorial decision to lead the news bulletin with Take That’s gig and when research repeatedly suggests that politics, entertainment, travel, weather, sport, this-day-in-history and what’s on is all perceived as news by listeners anyway.

One way or another I really hope this is one of the last times we have to read about minor code 10 violations. Perhaps even Ofcom is growing weary of them. Previous rulings have run to many pages. This one fits entirely on a single sheet of A4. Page 12 if you’re interested.

Photo: Take That by vagueontheshow, on Flicrk. Used under licence.

2 Comments

  1. If BRMB had just said “visit our website for more” on the Take That story, they could have included as many commercial references and links as they’d have liked.

    I’m not convinced that we’ve quite heard the end of Code 10 violations since 10.1 now says commercial arrangements must be “appropriately signalled” and “transparent to listeners”. I’d guess that there’s going to be a little learning for stations to do in regard to what this actually means in practice.

  2. Yes, very good points Adam. It also remains to be seen whether Ofcom will have enough staff left to ensure thorough scrutiny.