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Sam FM apologies after DJs talk up a sponsor’s free car

By | Published on Thursday 22 June 2017

Sam FM

Local radio station Sam FM has apologised to media regulator OfCom after its presenters went on rather too long about an electric car that had been loaned to the station by one of its sponsors.

According to Radio Today, a Sam FM presenter started singing the praises of the Renault Twizy, which had been loaned to them by a local car dealer called City Motors, during a sports programme sponsored by said company.

Although noting the vehicle’s small size, the presenter – being questioned by a colleague who was commentating on a local rugby match – said of the car: “It is fully electric, 100% electric. No emissions, it’s all green. You don’t even need any tax”. After presenter guy stated that the Twizy’s top speed was 50 miles an hour, commentator guy added “that’s all you need, isn’t it?” To which presenter guy said: “Absolutely, I was going down The Portbury Hundred towards Portishead with some pace … last week or so”.

A listener complained about all this on air plugging, arguing that it violated OfCom rules about keeping editorial and commercial content separated. Sam FM owner Celador stressed that City Motors was clearly positioned as the sponsor of its rugby coverage on air, but admitted that the Alan Partridge style chit chat about the Renault Twizy was “a lapse in editorial judgment”. I mean, for starters Partridge would not approve of such a small car.

Stressing that the conversation was impromptu and not part of any sneaky advertorial deal with its sponsor, Celador said: “A guest commentator filled a gap in the on-field action by starting a conversation [about] a car that had been supplied by the sponsor earlier in the week for an on-air promotion. The guest’s questioning unintentionally [led] the presenter to further detail the sponsor’s product which, on this occasion, was a lapse in editorial judgment under the pressure of a live broadcast by the presenter”.

Of course, we’re not covered by OfCom rules here in the CMU Daily, so if City Motors wants to chuck us a free car we’ll plug it big time. All we’ve got to lose is our credibility. And last time I checked, you can’t drive to the shops in your credibility.