Radio Station's On-air Chat About Voting Earns Rap from Regulator

Election Day chat about voting intentions has landed Glasgow-based radio station, Clyde 1, in trouble with broadcasting regulators, Ofcom.

The communications watchdog received four complaints against football show, Superscoreboard, following an exchange between host, Peter Martin, and sports journalist, Graeme Speirs, while the polls were still open.

A discussion between the pair over how they had voted, or intended to vote, preceded speculation on how both Old Firm managers might cast their ballot.

Broadcast prior to the polls closing at 10pm, the phone-in was found to have breached Rule 6.4 of the Ofcom code, which states: “Discussion… of election and referendum issues must finish when the poll opens”.

Reads the regulator’s written judgement: “In reaching its decision, Ofcom notes the broadcasters statement that the exchange between the presenters was intended to be lighthearted. However, we also note [station owner] Bauer's acceptance that there was a breach of the Code on this occasion. In this case, two radio presenters, whilst the polls were still open, discussed: firstly how they had voted, or intended to vote in the General Election taking place that day; and second, how other well-known personalities would be casting their votes.

“Given the above, we considered this was a clear breach of Rule 6.4.”

In the Ofcom adjudication, it is noted that Bauer Radio recognised the breach was a “serious matter”, adding that the presenters had been reprimanded and taken off-air for a period of time as a result.

Said a spokesperson for Bauer: “Clyde 1 had procedures in place concerning election coverage and issued guideline reminders in the run up to and on polling day itself.

“Although the Superscoreboard presenters had been briefed about appropriate election coverage, both acknowledge that on this occasion they showed a lack of judgement and awareness in speculating how certain individuals may have voted. Ofcom accepted that the exchange between the presenters was intended to be lighthearted and to make the sports show more topical.”