Radio Station Should Have Revealed “Live” Rolling Stones Concert was Pre-Recorded, Says Canadian Broadcast Standards Council

Ottawa, March 15, 2006 – The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision concerning Q107’s (CILQ-FM, Toronto) broadcast of a Rolling Stones concert on August 10, 2005.  The CBSC Ontario Regional Panel examined complaints about the broadcast and concluded that Q107’s failure to clearly indicate that the concert it aired was pre-recorded and not a broadcast of the live concert taking place that evening at the Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto constituted a breach of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ (CAB) Code of Ethics

On August 10, 2005, the Rolling Stones were scheduled to play a single pre-tour concert at the Phoenix Concert Theatre, beginning at 9:30 pm.  Q107 advertised that it would be airing a live Rolling Stones performance at precisely the same time.  Q107’s promotions of the broadcast referred to the “live” Rolling Stones broadcast.  Also, during the actual broadcast of the concert, the host continually mentioned the Phoenix Theatre show that was taking place at that same time and referred to the broadcast as “live Stones”.  Moreover, those comments were made with the sounds of a crowd cheering and instruments being tuned in the background.  All of this left the distinct impression that the concert broadcast by Q107 was in fact the Phoenix show that was taking place that evening.  In fact, it was a pre-recorded live Rolling Stones performance from three years earlier. 

The CBSC received nine complaints about the broadcast.  Two of the complainants requested that the CBSC adjudicate the matter.  The Ontario Regional Panel determined that Q107 breached Clauses 6 and 12 of the CAB Code of Ethics for its unfair, improper and misleading broadcasts: 

The repeated juxtaposition of the word “live” and references to the Phoenix show occurring in the identical time period as the broadcast concert clearly left the impression to any listener that the broadcast was indeed that of the live 2005 Rolling Stones show.  This impression was compounded by the sounds of a crowd cheering and other typical concert noises which served as background audio when Scholes was speaking. […]  What is material is that the broadcasts reviewed would have led an ordinary reasonable listener to conclude that the broadcast was that of the live concert at the Phoenix Theatre when it was not. 

[…]

The Panel acknowledges that at no time did the host directly state that the Rolling Stones concert being broadcast was in fact a live broadcast; it was, he left the distinct impression, the live broadcast from the Phoenix Concert Theatre.  […]  The point surely is that it would have been entirely reasonable, indeed responsible, for the host to disclose that the broadcast was in fact a recording of a live Rolling Stones performance from three years earlier. 

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 575 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