A complaint about a 95bFM promo that includes a long-time used string of swear words has not been upheld.
‘F***-knuckles, c**k and piss, balls, thank you’. These are the closing words of a 95bFM notice played on-air that ‘Bosom Radio’ listener and eventual complainant Jeremy Evans filed a complaint to the station about. The promo informs listeners that the station does its best in adhering to the rules and guidelines set out by the Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA), and the complaints process itself. Within the complaint, Evans acknowledged that the words were meant to be ‘irreverently humorous’, however also claims the string of words breaches the good taste and decency standard set out by the BSA, as the words “conjured unpleasant images of a sexual nature”, while also apparently antagonising of the BSA itself.
95bFM’s Programme Director refused to uphold the complaint. “The reason our BSA ad contains a somewhat cheeky coda, is far from a disrespect to the institution – it’s a knowing wink to our listeners. A wink that says: we know you’re a discerning listenership – a listenership that’s informed, caring, pushes the envelope, and is far more likely to complain about political or social injustices, rather than ‘cuss words’.”
The complaint was moved to the BSA, with the Crown authority deciding not to uphold it on Wednesday. BSA acting chair Suzie Staley stated that the swear words used in the segment are not used in an aggressive or sexually graphic manner, and do not carry any discernible meaning as a combination of words, but are rather being used satirically. Staley continues, adding that 95bFM is an independent station located on the University of Auckland campus, and is owned by Auckland University Students’ Association Media Trust, with its target and likely audience being young adults. “The Authority found, in the context, and particularly in light of 95bFM’s target and intended audience and its expectations of the radio station, the segment was unlikely to cause widespread undue offence or distress or undermine widely shared community standards.”
The words are considered by many to be iconic in bFM’s history, having been used on-air for 25 of the 52 years of the student radio station’s existence. Merchandise made with the slogan printed on it have become best-sellers, according to bFM’s Programme Director. This is the first complaint made to the BSA about 95bFM in sixteen years, with the last one being in 2005, and the first complaint ever in 25 years about use of the words.