Glastonbury Festival’s on-site radio station breaches Ofcom rules

Glastonbury Festival’s on-site radio station has broken Ofcom rules for playing a song that contained racially offensive language. 

The UK’s communications regulator said that Worthy 87.7 FM breached standards after it played an unedited version of ‘Miss Understood’ by rap artist, Little Simz. 

Worthy 87.7 FM played the track on June 23 at 18:41 BST at the start of the UK flagship festival, and the station later apologised, though not straight away as the presenters missed the language. 

Little Simz’ song contained two words which were deemed to have been “racially offensive” and “the most offensive”. 

In the Ofcom ruling, Worthy 87.7 FM acknowledged that it had played a song containing offensive language and that the lincesee, Joanne Schofield, also apologised for the broadcast and to anyone that was offended by it. 

Ofcom said that Worthy 87.7 FM breached rules 1.14, 1.6 and 2.3. 

The station only plays music from artists that are set to appear at the festival or have played previously. 

Presenters wanted to promote the fact that Little Simz was set to play a headline slot on the West Holts Stage. They made the mistake of searching the whole computer instead of tracks that were safe-for-radio. 

The song was in fact stored in a folder that was full of music containing bad language, but presenters believed they were only searching Worthy 87.7 FM’s music folder and not the whole computer. 

Presenters did not realised that an unedited version was being broadcast as they were greeting their next guests. This means that they “missed the opportunity to fade it down immediately and apologise on air”. 

The Glastonbury Festival radio station licensee told Ofcom that changes would be made including strengthening compliance controls, the computer only having safe-for-radio songs stored, and the studio being treated as a closed set. 

The radio station added its broadcast desk would not have access to the internet and only authorised people will be able to add content to the computer.