BSA Decisions Ngā Whakatau a te Mana Whanonga Kaipāho

All BSA's decisions on complaints 1990-present

Brennan and MediaWorks Radio Ltd - 2015-029

Members
  • Peter Radich (Chair)
  • Leigh Pearson
  • Te Raumawhitu Kupenga
  • Mary Anne Shanahan
Dated
Complainant
  • Christine Brennan
Number
2015-029
Broadcaster
MediaWorks Radio Ltd
Channel/Station
The Edge

Summary

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

The hosts of the Jay-Jay, Mike and Dom show interviewed an eliminated contestant from The Bachelor about her experience on the show. At the end of the item, one of the hosts introduced the new 'Bachelorette game show' titled, 'What's your cucumber number?' The premise was for contestants to put cucumbers into their mouths and bite down. Whichever contestant could bite down the farthest along the cucumber would be the winner. The Authority did not uphold the complaint that this was demeaning to women and unsuitable for children. The broadcast was not outside audience expectations of the station and breakfast radio shows generally, and the innuendo would have gone over the heads of most children.

Not Upheld: Good Taste and Decency, Responsible Programming


Introduction

[1]  The hosts of the Jay-Jay, Mike and Dom show interviewed an eliminated contestant from The Bachelor about the show and about her experience. At the end of the item, one of the hosts introduced the new 'Bachelorette game show' titled, 'What's your cucumber number?' The premise was for contestants to put cucumbers into their mouths and bite down. Whichever contestant could bite down the farthest along the cucumber would be the winner.

[2]  Christine Brennan complained that the broadcast was 'demeaning to women' and unsuitable for a time when children would be listening.

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

[4]  The item was broadcast on The Edge at 7.44am on Thursday 26 March 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]  Ms Brennan argued that the broadcast was 'extremely distasteful' because of its 'sexual connotations and meaning'. She considered it was 'demeaning to women' and went beyond the expectations of the target audience.

[7]  MediaWorks said that the station is targeted at adults between the ages of 15 and 39, not children. It argued that these hosts 'are renowned for their wit and quirky senses of humour; their light-hearted banter and for regularly engineering mischievous but innocuous pranks and jokes'. Although it conceded that 'adults would understand the insinuation... that the competition was referencing a sexual act', it considered there was no 'dialogue in the broadcast that gave any indication that the challenge might have a sexual connotation'.

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

  •  the comments were made just before 8am on a weekday, when children could be listening during  school drop-off time
  •  The Edge's target audience of 15- to 39-year-olds
  •  audience expectations of The Edge and these particular hosts
  •  audience expectations of breakfast shows, well-known for their humour and banter
  •  that the 'contest' was meant to be humorous.

[9]  We understand the complainant's view that this broadcast was distasteful, and that some people may have considered it to be offensive to women. However, we do not think that most regular listeners would have been unduly surprised or offended by the content. The content itself was in the nature of innuendo and there were no explicit sexual references. It was clear that the 'contest' was meant to be humorous rather than offensive, and it was consistent with expectations of this breakfast radio show and its style of comedy.

[10]  Taking into account the above contextual factors, we do not think the distastefulness of the broadcast was at such a level as to breach the standard. Accordingly we decline to uphold the Standard 1 complaint.

Did the broadcast breach the responsible programming standard?

[11]  The responsible programming standard (Standard 8) requires broadcasters to ensure that programmes information and content is socially responsible. Guideline 8a states that broadcasters should be mindful of the effect any programme content may have on children during their normally accepted listening times.

[12]  Ms Brennan considered that the broadcast contained a clear reference to a sexual act rather than 'subtle innuendo', 'at a time in the morning when young children and adolescents were listening'.

[13]  MediaWorks reiterated that The Edge was not targeted at children, and said 'it's well-known for content that can sometimes be risque'. It also considered that 'the content would not have negatively affected a child listener' because it 'would have gone over the heads of most children'.

[14]  We have previously held that 'inexplicit sexual references or sexual innuendo are permissible during children's listening times' on The Edge.3 We agree with MediaWorks that the broadcast did not contain any explicit sexual content and that the innuendo would have gone over the heads of most children. While recognising the station targets 15- to 39-year olds rather than children, we do not think the segment would have caused alarm or distress to any children who happened to be listening.

[15]  We therefore decline to uphold the complaint under Standard 8.

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

Signed for and on behalf of the Authority

 

 

Te Raumawhitu Kupenga
Authority Member
15 July 2015

 

Appendix

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

1      Christine Brennan's formal complaint – 30 March 2015

2      MediaWorks' response to the complaint – 29 April 2015

3      Ms Brennan's referral to the Authority – 12 May 2015

4      MediaWorks' response to the Authority – 8 June 2015

 

 


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

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

3 Ahern and MediaWorks Radio Ltd, Decision No. 2014-063