Ofcom has fined the BBC £95,000 for inviting listeners to participate in two pre-recorded radio competitions, which breached the broadcasting code. The watchdog fined BBC Radio 2 £70,000 and BBC London 84.9fm £25,000 for airing a series of pre-recorded shows hosted by TV personalities Dermot O’Leary and Tony Blackburn in 2006.
Ofcom says that as the programmes were pre-recorded, the competitions were held unfairly and breached its code of conduct. The watchdog has already fined the BBC for other pre-recorded shows on stations including BBC Radio 1.
In a statement, Ofcom says: “Ofcom considered that these breaches of the Code were serious. The investigation found that BBC had repeatedly taken pre-meditated and deliberate decisions to include audience competitions in pre-recorded programmes. The BBC invited listeners to enter these competitions at the time of the broadcasts, in the full knowledge that the audience stood no chance of either entering or winning.”
Ofcom says that it has spoken to the BBC about the breach and is confident that the broadcaster has since taken “extensive steps to ensure future compliance in this area”. The BBC will also broadcast a statement of Ofcom’s findings on each of the stations.