Rural radio show breached ACMA codes with broadcast of ‘I’m a wanker’ song

A community radio station has been found in breach of its licence conditions for playing a catchy tune with the chorus ‘I’m a wanker’ during the day and then ineptly dealing with listener complaints.

The song which includes lyrics like “I’m a wanker and I’m always pulling my pud”, played on 2REM in Albury-Wodonga, Victoria, at 4.20pm on a Sunday afternoon prompted complaints from a grandmother who was listening to the radio with three of her grandchildren at the time.

“The eldest aged eight came and asked what a ‘wanker’ was and also asked how do you play ‘pud’, can we have a game?” she said. The complainant continued: “Upon completion of the offensive song the announcer made the comment along the lines ‘and I don’t want to hear any complaints; we are all grown up’”.

The I’m a Wanker song (warning not suitable for work)

Although the broadcaster, owned by the Radio Albury Wodonga Cooperative Society Ltd, responded to her complaint in writing within a week of the broadcast on August 11 last year, the letter was incorrectly filed and never sent to the complainant.

However the broadcaster failed to recognise this when she followed up on her complaint on August 27, exacerbating the situation, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) said.

In its defence the broadcaster said a volunteer at the station had failed to properly post the complaint, and when they realised what had happened offered another apology in writing for causing offence and the subsequent oversight.

“2REM does not condone this type of behaviour from its presenters,” the broadcaster said.

The presenter, who the complainant said was “inept” was suspended from the station for a month and received severe warning by the broadcaster’s board of directors, the ACMA heard.

However the ACMA found 2REM breached two clauses of the Community Radio Broadcasting Codes of Practice relating to the handling of complaints.

The code states complaints should be conscientiously considered, investigated and responded to as soon as possible. And complaints should be responded to, in writing, within 60 days of receipt and contains a copy of the codes of practice.

Although 2REM did send a full and substantive response to the complaint it was not provided until November 8 and did not include a copy of the codes.

The ruling came as veteran broadcaster John Laws and radio station 2SM were cleared from breaching licence conditions by asking a victim of sexual abuse if it had been her “fault”.

Megan Reynolds


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