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Radio 1 rapped for excessive U2 promotion

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Radio 1 rapped for excessive U2 promotion
The BBC has acknowledged that the launch of U2's new album was given "undue prominence" on Radio 1 last year and that the logo 'U2 = BBC' was "inappropriate".

In a BBC Complaints ruling, Radio 1 coverage around the band's No Line On The Horizon album was deemed to have breached BBC editorial guidelines by unfairly prioritising a commercial product.

The U2 promotion awarded "undue prominence for commercial products or organisations", while the 'U2 = BBC' logo "gave an inappropriate impression of endorsement".

Mention of the BBC being "part of launching this new album" in a pre-recorded interview between DJ Zane Lowe and U2 frontman Bono was also deemed unnecessary.

However, the unit did not uphold complaints about a concert by the band on top of broadcasting house for Jo Whiley's Radio 1 show.

Commercial radio trade body Radiocentre had complained about Radio 1's U2 coverage, along with promotion of a tour by Coldplay on grounds that it amounted to free publicity on a public service.

After direct links were hosted on BBC websites to ticket agents for the Coldplay tour, the complaints unit ruled that the approach was "not in keeping with the BBC's guidelines on links to external websites".

The unit noted that the ticket links have now been removed and that the U2 coverage verdict was recently "discussed at the Radio 1/1xtra editorial meeting".

"In addition, the Radio 1 leadership team have reminded executive producers and presenters about the issues to be considered in relation to judgements about undue prominence, and the distinction between the reporting of new artistic work and commercial promotion," said the unit.

"The management of BBC Marketing, Communication and Audiences (the Division responsible for the "U2 = BBC" graphic) has reminded all staff of the need to consult the Editorial Policy team in a timely manner for advice when potentially sensitive issues such as commercial interests are involved. As session on working with third parties will be included in MC&A's monthly editorial issues training programme."

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