Darlington radio station could face legal action after 'insulting broadcast'

6:00am Saturday 23rd March 2013

Exclusive By Joe Willis

A NORTH-EAST radio station could face legal action after a clip was broadcast criticising an ex-employee's work and making a derogatory comment about her breasts.

The woman is taking legal advice against Darlington-based Star Radio North East and has complained to communications watchdog Ofcom.

The link - apparently part of a series taking a swipe at rival North-East radio stations - was broadcast after she left to work for TFM Radio, based in Thornaby, near Stockton.

The link uses an extract apparently taken from US television comedy My Name Is Earl to refer to her as the “hot chick with the nice 'taters”.

It then criticises her work before urging TFM to “keep its hands off” another female employee.

The link ends by making a further derogatory comment about a second  staff member.

Earlier this year, the station, which broadcasts across Darlington, County Durham and North Yorkshire, changed its format after trialling ten different music styles in ten days.

The Northern Echo understands station managing director Mark Reason emailed the former employee telling her that he ordered the promotional clip to be removed immediately after it was broadcast.

He told the woman that programme director Robin Banks had attempted to call to apologise.

Mr Reason declined to comment last night.

Star Radio parent company UKRD chief executive William Rogers also refused to discuss the clip.

UKRD was recently named Number 1 Sunday Times Top 100 Best Company to Work For for the third year in a row.

Earlier this year, Mr Rogers was the keynote speaker at an Acas conference on values and engagement within the workplace. Mr Rogers said the company focused on a “values based culture”.

TFM declined to comment on the incident, although it is understood the station has also complained to Ofcom about the clip.

Ofcom said it did not discuss individual complaints but did make public the findings of its investigations when they were concluded.

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