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Radio Caroline reprimanded after uncensored Radiohead track creeps onto the airwaves

By | Published on Tuesday 17 December 2019

Radio Caroline

The current incarnation of Radio Caroline has been found in breach of OfCom rules after it played the uncensored version of Radiohead’s ‘Creep’, which includes the word ‘fucking’ no less than three fucking times.

The radio edit of the track replaces the offending word with ‘very’, but this version was not used in the broadcast and no apology was issued to listeners after the sweary version went out.

Radio Caroline said in response to OfCom’s investigation that the issue was a “simple error”, the result of two volunteers in different locations sharing the duties of scheduling tracks and voicing links. The station said that it has since implemented a better system for volunteers to communicate online, and ensured that all tracks are now played from a central database, rather than brought in from external sources.

As for why no apology was issued on air, station bosses said that “the problem was not identified until it was brought to [our] notice many days later”. They added that there was “no justification for the use of explicit language” and that the station would “not knowingly play such a track”.

In its ruling that Radio Caroline was in breach of regulations, OfCom said that the incident occurred at a time of day when listeners would not reasonably have expected to hear what is considered to be among the most offensive words. It added that the lack of an apology was of particular concern, but took into account that the track had been played in error and that the station had taken steps to ensure that it wouldn’t happen again.

The legendary pirate radio station of old returned to analogue airwaves in 2017 – having been online-only for several years – broadcasting legitimately on a frequency formerly used by the BBC World Service.

It can be heard in Essex and Suffolk on that AM frequency, 648hz. This year it has also made a number of broadcasts from the original ship it used back in its pirate radio days. Using the Manx Radio transmitter, those broadcasts went out under the name Radio Caroline North.

You can also hear the station on DAB and online, if analogue just isn’t your thing.