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Smith and The Radio Network - 2011-089

Members

  • Peter Radich (Chair)
  • Te Raumawhitu Kupenga
  • Leigh Pearson
  • Mary Anne Shanahan

Complainant

  • R T Smith of Auckland

Dated

13th September 2011

Number

2011-089

Programme

The Breakfast Show

Channel/Station

Radio Hauraki

Broadcaster

The Radio Network Ltd


Complaint under section 8(1B)(b)(i) of the Broadcasting Act 1989
The Breakfast Show – host joked “Who wants to stick their finger up Dean’s arse?” – allegedly in breach of good taste and decency standard

Findings
Standard 1 (good taste and decency) – humour used to convey important message about men’s health to target audience – contextual factors – not upheld

This headnote does not form part of the decision. 


Broadcast

[1]  During The Breakfast Show, broadcast on Radio Hauraki between 6am and 9am on Tuesday 14 June 2011, one of the hosts Dean stated, “Alright, so the call is going to go out this morning for a doctor for Men’s Health Week”, and his co-host Nick joked,Who wants to stick their finger up Dean’s arse?”

Complaint

[2]  R T Smith made a formal complaint to The Radio Network (TRN), the broadcaster, alleging that the host’s “gross and offensive” comment breached standards of good taste and decency.

Standards

[3]  The broadcaster assessed the complaint under Standard 1 and guideline 1a of the Radio Code of Broadcasting Practice, which provide:

Standard 1 Good Taste and Decency

Broadcasters should observe standards of good taste and decency.

Guideline 1a   

Broadcasters will take into account current norms of good taste and decency, bearing in mind the context in which any language or behaviour occurs and the wider context of the broadcast e.g. time of day, target audience.

Broadcaster’s Response to the Complainant

[4]  TRN noted that Radio Hauraki was a classic rock station which was targeted at a predominantly adult male audience. It said that The Breakfast Show was “edgy, entertaining and as befits the rock genre, tends to take a tilt at convention”. In the broadcaster’s view, while some listeners may have found the host’s comment “crude”, it was “passable” given the station’s target audience and because it was made in the context of a “worthy” promotion of Men’s Health Week.

[5]  While the broadcaster said that Radio Hauraki’s manager had counselled staff with regard to the good taste and decency standard, for the reasons given above, it declined to uphold the complaint.

Referral to the Authority

[6]  Dissatisfied with TRN’s response, Mr Smith referred his complaint to the Authority under section 8(1B)(b)(i) of the Broadcasting Act 1989. He maintained that Standard 1 had been breached.

Authority’s Determination

[7]  The members of the Authority have listened to a recording of the broadcast complained about and have read the correspondence listed in the Appendix. The Authority determines the complaint without a formal hearing.

[8]  When we consider an alleged breach of Standard 1, we take into account the context of the broadcast. On this occasion, the relevant contextual factors include:

  • The Breakfast Show was broadcast between 6am and 9am on a Tuesday
  • the radio station’s target audience of adult males
  • the expectations of regular listeners.

[9]  The host’s comment, “Who wants to stick their finger up Dean’s arse?” related to The Breakfast Show promotion of Men’s Health Week, which involved appealing for a doctor to examine the hosts’ prostates. We consider that, while the language employed for that purpose was somewhat coarse, it was not expressed in a nasty or offensive tone. In our view, it was intended to be humorous for the purpose of conveying an important message (namely, awareness of men’s health issues) in a manner that would appeal to the radio station’s target audience of adult males.

[10]  Taking into account the relevant contextual factors, we consider that the host’s comment would not have offended or distressed most listeners and we decline to uphold the Standard 1 complaint.  

 

For the above reasons the Authority declines to uphold the complaint.

Signed for and on behalf of the Authority

 

Peter Radich
Chair
13 September 2011

Appendix

The following correspondence was received and considered by the Authority when it determined this complaint:

1                  R T Smith’s formal complaint – 23 June 2011

2                 TRN’s response to the complaint –  30 June 2011

3                 R T Smith’s referral to the Authority – 14 July 2011

4                 TRN’s response to the Authority – 21 July 2011