BSA Decisions Ngā Whakatau a te Mana Whanonga Kaipāho

All BSA's decisions on complaints 1990-present

Williams and New Zealand Media and Entertainment - 2015-019

  • Peter Radich (Chair)
  • Leigh Pearson
  • Te Raumawhitu Kupenga
  • Mary Anne Shanahan
  • Mike Williams
Radio Sport


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

During a discussion on Radio Sport's Crowd Goes Wild Breakfast show about the Black Caps' recent win over Bangladesh, one of the hosts said that anyone who criticised cricketer Martin Guptill could 'take your criticism and ram it up your arse'. The Authority did not uphold the complaint that this comment was irresponsible and inappropriate for broadcast at a time when children were likely to be listening. The language used would not have unduly surprised or offended regular listeners taking into account audience expectations of the hosts' well-known style, and of Radio Sport. The segment was otherwise innocuous and was not targeted at children.

Not Upheld: Responsible Programming


[1]  During the Crowd Goes Wild Breakfast show on Radio Sport, the hosts discussed the Black Caps' recent win over Bangladesh. One of the hosts said that anyone who criticised cricketer Martin Guptill could 'take your criticism and ram it up your arse'.

[2]  Mike Williams complained that it was irresponsible for the host to make such a comment at a time when children were likely to be listening.

[3]  The issue is whether the broadcast breached the responsible programming standard as set out in the Radio Code of Broadcasting Practice.

[4]  The item was broadcast at 8.15am on Monday 16 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 breach the responsible programming standard?

[5]  The responsible programming standard (Standard 8) requires broadcasters to ensure that programme information and content is socially responsible.

[6]  The complainant argued that it was irresponsible for the presenter to make a comment like 'ram it up your arse' during school drop-off time when children were likely to be listening. He felt there is a reasonable expectation that sports programmes would not contain that sort of language and would be appropriate for children to listen to.

[7]  NZME noted that Radio Sport is targeted at 35- to 54-year-olds. While it understood the complainant's concern, it concluded that because the station is not targeted at children and because 'arse' is at the tamer end of the spectrum of potentially offensive language, regular listeners would not have been unduly offended by the comment.

[8]  Guideline 8a to the responsible programming standard requires broadcasters to be mindful of the effect any programme content may have on children during their normally accepted listening times, including before and after school.1

[9]  When we consider a complaint about language and/or about the interests of child audience members, we take into account relevant contextual factors surrounding the broadcast, which here include:

  • the comment was broadcast at 8.15am, during children's normally accepted listening times
  • the station's target audience of 35- to 54-year-olds
  • the hosts of Crowd Goes Wild (on television as well as on radio) are well-known for their style of presentation and humour
  • audience expectations of Crowd Goes Wild and Radio Sport
  • audience expectations of breakfast radio shows generally.

[10]  We note that the complainant is concerned about the use of the phrase 'ram it up your arse', rather than only the word 'arse' which the broadcaster has commented on in its response. Nevertheless, we are satisfied that the host's comment would not have unduly surprised or offended most listeners and did not breach standards of responsible programming.

[11]  The remark was made in the context of two well-known sports commentators discussing a recent Black Caps match, during a breakfast radio sports programme targeted at adults. These hosts have an established reputation resulting from their television production of Crowd Goes Wild, and are known for their 'blokey', 'tongue-in-cheek' style of presentation. While on occasion some listeners may find this style and their choice of language to be crass or provocative, the host's comment here was well within regular listeners' expectations of the show. The segment as a whole was relatively innocuous and we do not consider that the comment would have had an adverse effect on any children who were listening.

[12]  Accordingly we 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


Peter Radich
16 June 2015



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

1      Mike Williams' formal complaint – 16 March 2015
2      NZME's response to the complaint – 16 March 2015
3      Mr Williams' referral to the Authority – 26 March 2015
4      NZME's response to the Authority – 27 March 2015



1 See, for example, Narayan and Humm FM, Decision No. 2014-119