CFMI-FM’s Broadcast of Sexually Explicit Material on Brother Jake Show In Breach of Code of Ethics, Says Canadian Broadcast Standards Council

Ottawa, April 23, 2002 – The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision concerning episodes of the Brother Jake Morning Show broadcast on CFMI-FM (Rock 101, Vancouver) in February and May 2001. The show contains usual morning show fare, such as news, traffic and weather reports, and songs. The hosts discuss current events and topics of interest, which are sometimes of a sexual nature, as are some of the taped audio comedy sketches. While the CBSC British Columbia Regional Panel found that certain elements of the program were merely in bad taste and thus not in breach of any broadcaster Codes, it did find that some of the conversations and sketches were too sexually explicit for times of day when children could be expected to be listening.

The B.C. Panel examined various episodes of the Brother Jake Morning Show under the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) Code of Ethics. The Panel decided that the hosts' discussions and audio sketches involving such topics as flatulence and bodily functions, as well as those containing sexual innuendo were in bad taste, but not in breach of the Code. It also found that sketches that mocked identifiable groups on the shows reviewed did not breach the human rights provision of the CAB Code of Ethics because they did not reach the level of abusively or unduly discriminatory comment. Moreover, none of the sexual discussions exploited either men or women.

Segments that included sexually explicit content, however, were found to be in violation of Clause 6, paragraph 3 of the CAB Code of Ethics which requires that broadcasters ensure the “proper presentation of […] opinion, comment and editorial.” In particular, the Panel concluded that a conversation in which one of the hosts described his sexual experience with a woman on a workbench was too explicit for times when children could be expected to be listening. The Panel also noted that

not only might children have been listening when the remarks were made, but children were in fact invited to be listening and to participate in the 'Kids' Joke Segment', which encourages children to telephone the station and recite a joke on air. […] On the February 9th [2001] broadcast, this Kids' Joke Segment preceded the aforementioned 'sex on the workbench' discussion by a mere seven minutes. Such material is unsuitable for times of the day when children could be expected to be listening, let alone when the hosts are fully aware that children are listening.

Canada's private broadcasters have themselves created industry standards in the form of Codes on ethics, gender portrayal and television violence by which they expect the members of their profession will abide. In 1990, they also created the CBSC, which is the self-regulatory body with the responsibility of administering those professional broadcast Codes, as well as the Code dealing with journalistic practices first created by the Radio Television News Directors Association of Canada (RTNDA) in 1970. More than 500 radio and television stations and specialty services from across Canada are members of the Council.

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All CBSC decisions, Codes, links to members' and other web sites, and related information are available on the CBSC's website at www.cbsc.ca. For more information, please contact the CBSC National Chair, Mme Andrée Noël CBSC Executive Director, John MacNab