Presenters censured for radio insults

TWO radio presenters who made insulting comments on air were today reprimanded by a media watchdog.

The Radio Authority upheld three complaints against the presenters on the London station LBC.

In one case, a caller complained that Steve Allen had been rude to him when he telephoned to offer his opinion on a solution to the Bosnian war.

The authority upheld the complaint, saying: 'We listened to a recording and agreed that the presenter had been rude to the caller, particularly in suggesting that the caller might be mentally ill.'

Another listener complained about Richard Littlejohn's reference to the feminist movement after he said equality for women and feminism had been 'hijacked by hatchet-faced, shavenheaded dykes in boiler suits who despise men'.

Upholding the complaint, the authority said the language used 'was unacceptable in this context' and contrary to part of the Broadcasting Act.

Mr Littlejohn has since left LBC and is to present a show on Sky television.

In the third case, a listener complained that his views had been 'rubbished' by Mr Allen. The authority agreed, saying that 'the caller was publicly ridiculed in a way which was unacceptable'.

The BBC said 'less than a dozen' radio listeners had complained after David Mellor, the former Secretary of State for National Heritage, swore on air when his Saturday evening football phone-in ran into technical problems.

Listeners to theSix-O-Six programme on BBC Radio Five Live heard him say 'Can someone fix this? Every 10 seconds I get this fucking noise in my cans' when he thought that his microphone was switched off.

A BBC spokeswoman said: 'While a trailer was going out he thought the microphone was switched off and uttered an expletive. We have had less than a dozen complaints from listeners.'