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Patterson and New Zealand Media and Entertainment - 2015-065

Members

  • Peter Radich (Chair)
  • Leigh Pearson
  • Te Raumawhitu Kupenga
  • Paula Rose

Complainant

  • Jim Patterson

Dated

10th November 2015

Number

2015-065

Channel/Station

Radio Hauraki

Broadcaster

New Zealand Media and Entertainment

Summary

[This summary does not form part of the decision.]

During Jeremy Wells' 'Like Mike' skit on Hauraki Breakfast Regurgitated, in which he parodied radio and television presenter Mike Hosking, Mr Wells discussed the flag debate and his admiration for John Key. Imitating Mr Hosking's voice he said, 'I was pleasuring myself watching John Key on Parliament TV the other day, and, just when things were coming to a climax, they cut to [Labour leader Andrew] Little and I lost thickness immediately'. The Authority did not uphold a complaint that the comment breached standards of good taste and decency. The item was clearly satirical and intended to be humorous, and was consistent with audience expectations of Mr Wells, Mr Hosking, the programme and the radio station. The comments were inexplicit and in the nature of innuendo, and would have gone over the heads of most children.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency


Introduction

[1]  During Jeremy Wells' 'Like Mike' skit on Hauraki Breakfast Regurgitated, in which he parodied radio and television presenter Mike Hosking, Mr Wells discussed the flag debate and his admiration for John Key. Imitating Mr Hosking's voice, Mr Wells said, 'I was pleasuring myself watching John Key on Parliament TV the other day, and, just when things were coming to a climax, they cut to [Labour leader Andrew] Little and I lost thickness immediately'.

[2]  Jim Patterson complained that the broadcast was 'not something that children should be subjected to' and that it was 'simply not reasonable or acceptable within the bounds of common decency in our society'.

[3]  The issue is whether the broadcast breached the good taste and decency standard of the Radio Code of Broadcasting Practice.

[4]  The segment was broadcast on Radio Hauraki at 12.45pm on Saturday 1 August 2015. The members of the Authority have listened to a recording of the broadcast complained about and have read the correspondence listed in the Appendix.

Did the broadcast threaten current norms of good taste and decency?

[5]  The good taste and decency standard (Standard 1) is primarily aimed at broadcasts containing sexual material, nudity, coarse language or violence.1 The Authority will also consider the standard in relation to any broadcast that portrays or discusses material in a way that is likely to cause offence or distress.2

[6]  Mr Patterson argued that it was a 'lewd subject matter' and that he had been in the car with his nine-year-old daughter when he heard the segment. He said that the replay effectively 'ambush[ed]' listeners, leaving them no time to change stations.

[7]  NZME argued that Radio Hauraki is 'an adult-targeted radio station for 30- [to] 59-year-olds'. It noted that Hauraki Breakfast is 'known for pushing the boundaries of acceptability' and that, although it was a replay, 'there was ample opportunity for somebody to change stations should they find [Mr Wells'] particular brand of humour inappropriate'. It pointed to ratings data that showed Radio Hauraki had 'zero listeners aged 10 [to] 14' on Saturdays during the time the segment aired.

[8]  When we consider a good taste and decency complaint, we take into account the context of the broadcast, which here includes:

  • the time of broadcast at 12.45pm on a weekend (which was a replay of segments of the Hauraki Breakfast show from that week)
  • Radio Hauraki has an adult target audience of 30- to 59-year-olds
  • the 'Like Mike' segment is a regular skit
  • the satirical nature of the broadcast
  • audience expectations of the 'Like Mike' skit, Hauraki Breakfast, Radio Hauraki and Mr Wells.

[9]  The 'Like Mike' skit is a weekly feature on the Hauraki Breakfast show, parts of which are replayed during Hauraki Breakfast Regurgitated on a Saturday. Both Radio Hauraki and Mr Wells are known for their provocative and at times challenging brand of humour. We have previously declined to uphold complaints about material on Hauraki Breakfast, including in relation to this particular skit, finding that it would not have gone beyond audience expectations of this radio station.3 In our view regular listeners would have been familiar with the segment and taken it as it was intended – as satire and comedy. Mr Hosking is also well-known for his particular style, and this skit exploits that persona, including his perceived political opinions, for the purpose of humour. The Authority has previously acknowledged,4 and some standards in the Code recognise,5 that humour and satire are important forms of speech on which society places value.

[10]  The content of this particular instalment of the skit may not have been to everyone's liking. We acknowledge that this Hauraki Breakfast item was being replayed later in the day outside of the breakfast radio timeslot. However, the comment subject to complaint occurred well into the segment (around one minute and 15 seconds) so there was some opportunity to make a different listening choice or exercise discretion if listeners did not want to hear Mr Wells' skit. Additionally, references to 'pleasuring myself', 'coming to a climax' and 'lost thickness' were relatively inexplicit and in the nature of innuendo, and in our view would have gone over the heads of younger children who happened to be listening.

[11]  For these reasons, we are satisfied that this material, taken in context, did not threaten current norms of good taste and decency and would not have unduly surprised or offended regular Radio Hauraki listeners. Accordingly we decline to uphold the complaint under Standard 1.

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

Signed for and on behalf of the Authority

 

 

Peter Radich
Chair
10 November 2015

 

Appendix

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

1      Jim Patterson's formal complaint – 2 August 2015
2      NZME's response to the complaint – 10 August 2015
3      Mr Patterson's referral to the Authority – 26 August 2015
4      NZME's response to the Authority – 27 August 2015

 

 


1 Turner and Television New Zealand Ltd, Decision No. 2008-112

2 Practice Note: Good Taste and Decency (Broadcasting Standards Authority, November 2006)

3 See Neal and The Radio Network Ltd, Decision No. 2014-041 and Taiuru and New Zealand Media and Entertainment, Decision No. 2015-045

4 E.g. Swift and Television New Zealand Ltd, Decision No. 2012-017

5 See, for example, guideline 6a to Standard 6 (Fairness) and guideline 7a to Standard 7 (Discrimination and Denigration) in the Radio Code of Broadcasting Practice