Lyca Media’s Dil Se Radio has been found in breach of Ofcom’s rules after it broadcast an on-air competition, which the presenter changed abruptly as she thought the original question was “too easy”.
In the programme ‘Kajal’ aired on 28th July 2016, a complainant alerted Ofcom to a competition run in the evening show, Kajal. Shortly after 21:00, the presenter invited listeners to call a standard rate landline number for a chance to win tickets to attend a ‘Giggle and Give’ charity event in Watford, which featured various comedians, including Paul Chowdhry. The presenter asked listeners to provide the answer to the following question: “What’s Paul Chowdhry’s real name?” After playing a music track, she said: “…Now, I’m going to change the competition a little bit. I thought that the question I asked was too easy and I think I’m going to make it a little bit harder tonight, so what I’ve decided to do is, I’ve decided to play a song”.
She then said that she was going to play “a remix version of a Bollywood track”, after which she asked listeners to answer the following question: “What film is this Bollywood track from?”
Lyca Media said it did not consider the competition had been conducted unfairly. It said that “the presenter had ‘stacked’ calls ready to go to air” and added that, “before
any callers were put to air the presenter was informed by management that the question [she had broadcast] was flawed and she should re-run the competition”. Lyca Media said that “no callers were taken to air and the competition was not formally entered by any individual”, adding that it “regret[ted] having changed the question but this was explained to listeners”.
In response to this, Ofcom said, in telling the presenter she “should re-run the competition”, Lyca Media appeared to consider that one competition would end and a subsequent competition begin, when the question provided to listeners was replaced. Although there may be circumstances when a broadcaster can legitimately abort a phone-in competition when it has received no entries, for example – Ofcom does not consider the change of question in this instance was a valid mechanism by which to close the competition and start a new one.
The competition commenced when the presenter first posed the original question for listeners to answer (i.e: “What’s Paul Chowdhry’s real name?”) and asked them to call the station for a chance to win tickets to attend a ‘Giggle and Give’ charity event. In Ofcom’s view, the competition did not then end until the prize was won. After the presenter first solicited interaction from listeners, potential entrants responded by calling the station and being held electronically for a chance to participate on air. As the question was subsequently changed, these listeners were disadvantaged, as they then had no chance of entering or winning the competition on the basis upon which they had responded to the presenter’s invitation to participate.
Lyca Media has been found in breach of 2.13.