Posts tagged “CBSC”

Q107 Culpa

Last year I applauded Q107 for owning up to their deceptive presentation of a Rolling Stones bootleg as a simulcast of a club show in Toronto. I was probably too easy on them in hindsight, but whatever. Some other folks pursued the misleading handling of it by The Mighty Q with the government regulatory body, and got some satisfaction. The ruling is quite lengthy (but includes a lot of detail from the broadcast) and says, in part

As a preliminary matter, the Panel wishes to note that “promotions” are not limited to such advertising as occurs prior to a broadcast, aired in order to entice listening (or viewing) of an upcoming program; they may also include trailers, bumpers and other types of promotional material that are aired during a broadcast. Such promotions serve to identify a program that is already underway for those listeners/viewers who may be surfing or just tuning in, on the one hand, or to encourage already engaged audience members to remain tuned to that broadcast. It follows that the bumpers aired by Q107 going into and out of the commercial breaks during the Rolling Stones concert, as well as other language used by the host, all fall under the heading of “promotions”, as anticipated in Clause 12 of the Code. The question for the Panel is, then, whether those promotions were misleading.

On that point, the Panel considers that an ordinary reasonable listener could reach only one conclusion. The show promised to them was to be the live Rolling Stones Concert from that night. Nothing less. While the station said, in its reply to the complainants, “We certainly did not intend to deceive any of our listeners”, it hardly took their sensibilities into account. From the get-go, it said, “As promised, live Stones in Toronto comin’ up -“. And how coincidental was it, from a listener’s perspective, that the broadcast of the “old” concert began at precisely the same time as the live concert? And that the background sounds at the start of the concert were those of a crowd cheering and instruments warming up? To compound the likelihood that the audience would believe it was that night’s live concert, the radio host said:

Uh, the club gig, live, tonight, right now in Toronto at the Phoenix Concert Theatre. As promised all day, the Stones live in Toronto. Enjoy everybody, on Q107. [Emphasis added.]

According to the complainants (but unverified by the CBSC), similar comments about the upcoming “live” Rolling Stones performance were made on air for at least 36 hours leading up to the broadcast. Also, the bumpers during the broadcast stated “This is the Rolling Stones live in Toronto” and “This is the world’s greatest rock ‘n’ roll band live.” 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. Further remarks such as “Phoenix Concert Theatre, 410 Sherbourne, the club gig for the Stones before they embark on their tour. It’s, uh, happening right now. More live Stones comin’ up, hang on” would have led any reasonable listener to assume that they were in fact listening to the concert then taking place at the Phoenix.

The only consequences are that Q107 has to broadcast this decision a number of specific times. But still, it’s pretty cool.


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