Morning Show Content Too Sexually Explicit, Says Canadian Broadcast Standards Council

Ottawa, March 13, 2003 – The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision concerning the Morning Show broadcast on CIRK-FM (97.3 K-Rock, Edmonton). The CBSC Prairie Regional Panel reviewed complaints about two separate episodes of the show. The Panel concluded that certain segments amounted to no more than innuendo and were not problematic in terms of broadcast standards. On the other hand, those segments that were more sexually explicit were in violation of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters' (CAB) Code of Ethics for being broadcast at times of the day when children could be listening to the radio. The Panel also concluded that none of the segments with sexual themes were exploitative or degrading towards men or women.

The K-Rock Morning Show airs every weekday from 5:30 am to 9:00 am. It includes customary morning show fare, such as songs, news, traffic updates and weather reports. The program also features banter between the three male hosts, as well as comedic songs and sketches that often have sexual themes.

The CBSC received two complaints about two different broadcast dates. Both complainants felt that the sexual content was inappropriate and insulting to women. One complainant specifically mentioned the “Dirty Lori” segments in which a sex expert answers listener's letters. On the broadcast date reviewed for the decision, Dirty Lori's topic was penis shape. The Panel decided that this particular segment “was not sufficiently ribald to be considered in breach of the Code.” In contrast, the Panel did conclude that the host's description of how to masturbate with a washing machine, the joke songs “Dear Penthouse” and “Prison Bitch” as well as a mock commercial for a “Solo Sex” exercise machine were sexually explicit and thus in violation of the Code. The Panel said:

The Panel understands the dilemma of broadcasters desirous of providing programming featuring a content and style that they deem appealing and entertaining for their target audience while respecting codified broadcast standards. […] Broadcasters must use their expertise to find the appropriate combination of content that is, on the one hand, amusing to their audience and yet, on the other hand, does not contravene any of the Code provisions which Canada's private broadcasters have themselves collectively established.

The other complainant specifically mentioned a joke song entitled “Tits”. He objected to the song on the basis that it was offensive to women. The song told the story of a man who buys his wife breast implants only to be unsettled by the fact that she shows the result to everybody. The Panel acknowledged that this song, along with other comments and audio sketches, focussed on the body parts of women, but that the program also contained similar material dealing with men. For example, the “Tits” song was preceded an hour earlier by another joke song called “Circumcision” about a man who had a circumcision performed by a barber. The Panel commented that the portrayal of neither women nor men was particularly flattering but that there was no breach of the Code provisions regarding sex-role stereotyping or exploitation.

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 530 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