Broadcast Standards Council Issues Decision On Ottawa Open-Line Show

Ottawa, September 15, 1995 – The Ontario Regional Council of the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) released its decision today concerning Ottawa radio station CFRA.

A listener to CFRA’s “Steve Madely Show” wrote to complain about the host’s treatment of a caller and his use of profane language. During the program in question, the host had discussed the subject of drunk driving. At one point, the host refused to take more calls on the subject, declaring “I am going to close this file and I’m going to put the file away because no-one gives a damn.” In the complainant’s view, because the host had cut off further discussion on the subject and used the word “damn”, he had had vented his anger at listeners and used profanity, which the complainant found objectionable. In the station’s view, however, the host had been passionate about the subject at hand, which was one of the essential elements of talk radio.

The CBSC Ontario Regional Council reviewed the matter and concluded that, while the host had used sarcasm aimed at his audience and had used the language mentioned by the complainant, these actions did not constitute a breach of industry standards on ethics. The host had been dramatic, in order to stir his audience, and he had expressed frustration with the audience’s lack of interest in the subject of drunk driving, but this was not unfair, abusive or inappropriate for this type of program.

The CBSC Ontario Regional Council is composed of representatives of the broadcasting industry and the general public. The Chair, Marianne Barrie, represents the public, as do Robert Stanbury and Taanta Gupta (who was not present for this decision). The Vice-Chair, a broadcaster, is Al MacKay (not present for this decision), while the other broadcaster members are Paul Fockler and Madeline Ziniak. The decision was unanimous.

Created for the self-regulation of Canada’s private sector radio and television stations, the CBSC includes nearly 400 stations from across Canada. It administers industry codes on ethics, sex-role portrayal, television violence and journalistic ethics.

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For more information, please contact the National Chair of the CBSC, Ronald I. Cohen, at (###) ###-####.