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OfCom says Bauer radio stations breached rules with two fucks

By | Published on Tuesday 14 June 2022

Bauer Media

UK media regulator OfCom has ruled that Bauer-owned Absolute Radio and Greatest Hits Radio were both in breach of their licences for airing the word “fuck”. But big question: does anyone give a fuck? Yes. OfCom gives a fuck. And Bauer gives a fuck. So that’s two fucks given. In relation to the two fucks.

Absolute Radio was criticised by the regulator for airing a pre-recorded edition of Jason Manford’s Sunday morning show in January in which he and guest Steve Edge discussed a listener’s new year’s resolution to swear more. Edge remarked: “I’m not swearing enough. So, next year, I’m really going to fucking go for it”.

The fact that the show was pre-recorded arguably makes the rule-breaking inclusion of the f-word even less excusable, although – said Bauer in its response to OfCom after a listener complained – it was also the reason why the mistake was made. Different edits of the programme are produced, with one being broadcast and the other put out as a podcast, and the wrong version was aired by mistake.

But hang on one fucking moment, does that mean it’s fine to say “fuck” on a podcast? Fuck no. The podcast version was meant to have the swear word bleeped out while the broadcast version was meant to have the exchange cut entirely. However, the unedited recording was then aired. “We’re really fucking sorry”, the broadcaster told OfCom. Maybe.

The rule-breaking swear on Greatest Hits Radio came in a live version of the Genesis song ‘Invisible Touch’ which was broadcast on Boxing Day last year. The fact that the live version contained a “fuck” hadn’t been picked up by the station’s content checking processes, it explained, because it was “barely audible”.

Though clearly audible enough for the complainer. “For fucks sake, who the fuck is listening that closely on Boxing Day?” Bauer definitely did not say in its response to the OfCom swear police.