106 Jack FM is a local commercial radio station covering the Solent region in the south of England. It is aimed at listeners aged over 40 and focuses on classic and contemporary rock music.
A listener contacted Ofcom to complain about a promotional line for the station, which said: "Never buy a dwarf with learning difficulties. It's not big and it's not clever. 106 Jack FM."
In response, Jack Fm said that its promotional productions were comedy 'one liners' that "reflect the irreverent style of the station".
The network said that it had also received a complaint about the joke and had apologised directly to the person concerned, explaining that the line was not "specifically intended to target anybody with disabilities".
Jack FM said that while it tries "to push boundaries and get people talking", it recognised that on this occasion the joke had offended people. It has therefore withdrawn the promotional line from its playout schedule.
In its ruling, Ofcom noted that the joke had the potential to offend listeners, because "the intention seemed to be to derive humour from linking 'dwarf' with 'not big' and 'learning difficulties' with 'not clever'".
"While we note the licensee said it had not 'specifically intended to target anybody with disabilities', Ofcom considered that listeners were likely to understand the joke as being directed at people with dwarfism and learning difficulties. It therefore had potential to offend," said the regulator.
Ofcom noted Jack FM's action to apologise directly to the listener who complained and decision to withdraw the joke from its schedule. It therefore considers the matter resolved.
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