Entertainment & Arts

Steve Wright's Love Songs show breached BBC guidelines

Steve Wright
The Trust said the show needed to make clear there was a cut off point for dedications

Radio 2's Steve Wright's Sunday Love Songs has been found in breach of BBC guidelines after it invited listeners to submit dedications for the programme despite it being pre-recorded.

Although listeners were told they could contact the show "any time", it was not made clear there was a cut-off point.

The BBC Trust ruled the show breached guidelines on accuracy and interacting with its audience.

However it said the BBC did not knowingly mislead listeners.

The issue came to light after an announcement prior to the edition broadcast on 6 November 2011, saying the programme had been pre-recorded.

The programme is recorded on a Friday to be broadcast the following Sunday, however the playlist and script is finalised on a Thursday afternoon.

During the programme listeners were frequently invited to contact the show to submit their dedications.

However, it was not made clear until after callers had left their dedication, that messages would only be considered for inclusion in following editions.

'Looseness of language'

A listener complained to the BBC saying some listeners who were unaware the show was not live may have wasted time and money contacting the programme hoping to get a message on air.

Radio 2 went on to change the wording used in the show and on phone messages to reflect that not all messages may be used, but the BBC Trust said the revision was still in breach of accuracy guidelines and needed to be amended further to make clear there was a cut off point.

The BBC Trust said it did not believe the BBC had intentionally misled its audience, but the problem was "essentially one of a lack of clarity" and the result of a "looseness of language".

The editorial standards committee also ruled that by not making the cut off point clear, it did not "treat those who engaged with the programme fairly" because listeners might be misled by being encouraged to contact the show.

A Radio 2 spokeswoman said: "In light of the Trust's findings on clarity for people leaving dedications for the programme, we have revised the wording in order to ensure the process is absolutely clear for listeners."

On Wednesday, listeners to Wright's daily afternoon Radio 2 show heard the presenter trail Sunday's programme - adding dedications needed to be submitted by noon on Thursday to be considered for inclusion.

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