Stoke Mandeville Hospital radio presenter breached Ofcom rules with offensive racist comment

A generic shot of a radio studio with microphone and headphones.
Credit: ITV News Anglia
Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio is based at the renowned hospital in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire. Credit: Press Association

A hospital radio station was found to have breached broadcasting rules after a presenter made a racist comment.

Watchdog Ofcom ruled that a host of Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio's Tuesday Night Request show had used "potentially offensive racially discriminatory language" during a discussion on 18 April.

Revealing the answer to a question posed to listeners earlier in the broadcast - "Which songwriter, or songwriting team, has written the song Dynamite by Mud" - one presenter made a racially offensive play on the name of one of the writers, Nicky Chinn.

About half an hour later, while still on air, the same presenter said: "I hope I haven't offended anybody" but quickly followed it up with "I hope I have" and a laugh.

As part of its investigation, Ofcom said it took into account the fact that the show was broadcast later in the evening - with the comment coming around 9.25pm - and the context in which it was made.

"However, we considered that listeners would have been unlikely to expect to hear this level of potentially offensive racially discriminatory language on a hospital radio station at any time of day," it said.

It also found the comments made later in the show - and the presenter's laugh - had failed to mitigate the effect of the initial statement.

It found Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio was in breach of rule 2.3 of the Ofcom Broadcasting Code.

Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio told the investigation it "regret[ted] any upset caused to our listeners" and that the presenter - who has not been named by Ofcom - had been taken off air while the watchdog investigated.

The presenter described the comment as "a moment of lapse in judgement" and said he would "never intend to cause upset or use the wrong type of language on air".

He and his colleagues had since been given "additional guidance and training".

Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio is based in Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, at the hospital known for its specialist spinal unit, its work with injured war veterans, and establishing the Stoke Mandeville Games which are considered the precursors of the Paralympic Games.

A spokesman for the hospital trust said: "As a trust we do not tolerate discriminatory language of any kind and we were pleased that Stoke Mandeville Hospital Radio took prompt action in response to this incident."

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