Community radio station Castle FM has been put on notice by regulators after it broadcast the word ‘f-word’ several times over three days.
Media regulator Ofcom has effectively given the station a slap on the wrist, issuing two “In Breach” notices for repeatedly playing songs featuring the ‘f-bomb’, and for failing to broadcast at all for several days in December.
Even notoriously offensive rap artists like Eminem produce radio-friendly versions of their music for the daytime airwaves, but the station failed to bleep out the blue language.
One insider described the rulings as a “like having points on your driving licence”, although more serious or repeated offences could result in fines or the station’s FM licence being revoked.
When contacted by the Evening News, Castle FM presenter Alan Fortune was clearly not anticipating a repeat of the slip.
He said: “I’ve spoken to Ofcom and everything is hunky-dory.”
According to a report published by the watchdog, three listeners complained after the station broadcast “offensive language, including the word ‘f***’ and variations of it, in music tracks at various times on 10, 11 and 14 February 2014”.
It is not known which tracks were involved.
Ofcom also asked the station to explain why it broadcast music on an automated loop for several days in December, without any live content.
It came as the station, formerly known as Leith FM, was embroiled in a bad-tempered power struggle between current and former staff, and was evicted from its base at the Leith Dockers Club for allegedly failing to pay rent or bills for ten months.
Police Scotland is also continuing investigations following complaints of financial irregularities.
The Ofcom breaches were made worse by the fact that Castle FM was unable to provide any recordings of its output, because its recording equipment was locked inside its former premises.
Craig Dougall, a director of Leith Community Mediaworks Ltd which holds Castle FM’s licence, said: “Ofcom were made aware of a listener complaint in February 2014 regarding a piece of music aired on Castle FM which allegedly contained an offensive word.
“Ofcom requested recordings of our output of daily programmes, but because we could not access our recording equipment we were unable to provide this.
“We did, however, submit a detailed report to Ofcom explaining that we did our utmost to provide the service we promised to provide as part of the Key Commitments of the licence agreement.”