BSA Decisions Ngā Whakatau a te Mana Whanonga Kaipāho

All BSA's decisions on complaints 1990-present

Wood and Radio Active 89FM - 2007-018

  • Joanne Morris (Chair)
  • Diane Musgrave
  • Tapu Misa
  • Paul France
  • Andrew Wood
Radio Active Limited
Radio Active 89FM

Complaint under section 8(1)(b) of the Broadcasting Act 1989
Radio Active – impromptu rap segment – complaint that rap was derogatory towards women and contained excessive swearing – allegedly in breach of good taste and decency

Recording of broadcast not available – decline to determine under section 11(b) of the Broadcasting Act 1989

This headnote does not form part of the decision.


[1]    During the "Freestyle" section of the Wednesday Night Jam, a hip hop radio show broadcast on Radio Active on 29 November 2006, aspiring young rappers were invited to perform impromptu rap between 10.45pm and 11pm.


[2]    Andrew Wood made a formal complaint to Radio Active 89FM, the broadcaster, under Principle 1 of the Radio Code. He said that the phases and words used by one male rapper on the broadcast were "exceptionally derogatory towards women - implying that beating up women was cool/fun/acceptable, saying women loved it". The complainant also contended that the swearing was excessive.

Referral to the Authority

[3]    Having received no response from Radio Active, Mr Wood referred his complaint to the Authority under section 8(1)(b) of the Broadcasting Act 1989.


[4]   Principle 1 of the Radio Code of Broadcasting Practice is relevant to the complaint. It provides:

Principle 1

In programmes and their presentation, broadcasters are required to maintain standards which are consistent with the observance of good taste and decency.

Broadcaster's Response to the Authority

[5]   Radio Active advised the Authority that, due to a "serious malfunction", it did not have a recording of the broadcast complained about. As an alternative it suggested an interview with the show coordinator who was in the studio during the broadcast.

[6]   The broadcaster said that, although it felt the performance was within the norms of free-styling rap, it had decided not to allow that particular performer back on the programme.

Authority's Determination

[7]   The members of the Authority have read the correspondence listed in the Appendix.   The Authority determines the complaint without a formal hearing.

[8]   In the absence of a recording, the Authority is unable to identify the remarks to which Mr Wood objected, or the context in which they were made. In these circumstances, the Authority cannot assess whether the broadcast complained about breached Principle 1. Accordingly, it declines to determine the complaint under section 11(b) of the Broadcasting Act 1989.

[9]   The Authority notes that in addition to Radio Active's inability to provide a recording of the broadcast, the broadcaster did not deal with Mr Wood's initial formal complaint. These lapses in process have led to an unsatisfactory outcome, and the Authority intends to follow this up with Radio Active.


For the above reasons the Authority declines to determine the complaint under section 11(b) of the Broadcasting Act 1989.

Signed for and on behalf of the Authority


Joanne Morris
3 May 2007


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

1            Andrew Wood's formal complaint – 6 December 2006
2           Mr Wood's referral to the Authority – 16 February 2007
3           Radio Active's response to the Authority – 7 March 2007