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Monday, 6 September, 1999, 17:07 GMT 18:07 UK
Watchdog raps radio station
Radio station studio
Radio station showed a "shocking disrespect for its listeners."
A radio station is in hot water with the broadcasting watchdog, the Radio Authority, after telling listeners the wrong date for an entire day.

Oxford-based Oxygen 107.9fm aired shows on 8 March telling the audience it was a week earlier.

The move was meant not to baffle listeners, but to fox the authorities who were investigating the station's output.

The Radio Authority had received complaints that Oxygen 107.9fm was not meeting its licence requirements on programme format.

Oxygen 107.9fm logo
Oxygen's licence cut by two years
The watchdog requested a tape of the station's 1 March shows to aid their investigation.

All radio broadcasters are obliged to keep tapes of their output for the previous 42 days.

Oxygen, which is now under new management, was unable to provide the requested tape.

The station resorted to recording their 8 March shows, but gave out the wrong date throughout so the tape could be passed off as the one requested for the investigation.

When the watchdog later asked for a tape of 8 March, the station sent in the output for 15 March, labelling it with a false date.

When the Radio Authority asked the entire week's worth of tapes, none of the 21 tapes provided were actually from days requested.

The bid to fox the regulator earned the station a 20,000 fine and saw its licence to operate cut by two years.

"Oxygen FM has shown shocking disrespect for its listeners as part of an attempt to deceive its regulator," said Sir Peter Gibbings, chairman of the Radio Authority.

Oxygen bosses say they are "committed" to serving listeners in Oxford
Senior management at the youth-orientated station were unaware of the deception and a new team is now in charge of output.

"The company, its small staff and team of volunteers remain committed to providing a first class service for students and young people in Oxford," read a statement issued by the station.

"We have now put this behind us," said Jerry Halford, Oxygen's managing director.

"We've got a fine station under a new team and things are looking rosy for us."

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