Country music channel summoned to Ofcom after breaking FIVE broadcasting rules

Ofcom finds country music show to have blurred the lines between editorial and commercial presentation, breaking five broadcasting rules in a programme.

The Phil Mack International Country Show, broadcast on Keep It Country (now Spotlight TV), received two complaints to Ofcom relating to two shows on the 27th January and 3rd February 2019, which spent a significant proportion of the airtime promoting four events, including frequent name checks of Warner Leisure Hotels, which hosted three events.

The case has now resulted in representatives of the channel now known as Spotlight TV being summoned to Ofcom to attend a meeting on compliance matters.

Upon investigating, Ofcom found that Phil Mack (real name Philip McLaughlin) was to receive a set sum for each booking from the venues hosting the event, including £200 for each booking from the UK to one of the events being held in the USA.

UK broadcasting rules say that...
  • references to placed products, services and trade marks must not be promotional 
  • references to placed products, services and trade marks must not be unduly prominent. 
  • Any product placement must be signalled clearly, by means of a universal neutral logo shown at the beginning, after breaks and at the end of a programme. 
  • Products, services and trade marks aren't allowed to be promoted in programming 
  • No undue prominence (e.g. through frequent name checks) may be given in programming to a product, service or trade mark. The rules are in place to help provide a distinction between regular programming and teleshopping.  
Keep It Country was found to have breached all of these rules.

In finding Keep It Country/Spotlight TV guilty, Ofcom said it agreed that there may be editorial reasons to refer to country music events in programmes broadcast on the channel. However, the extent, nature and frequency of the references to the events in these programmes was much more extensive than “one or two mentions” in each part of the programmes.