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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 November 2005, 15:45 GMT
Station fined over Bigley 'jokes'
James Stannage (photo courtesy of MEN syndication)
Mr Stannage's comments were described as "totally unacceptable"
A Manchester radio station has been fined a record 125,000 after a presenter made racist comments and joked about the death of Ken Bigley.

James Stannage made the remarks during four separate late night phone-ins on Key 103 in October and November 2004.

In its ruling, the media regulator Ofcom described the breaches of its programme code as "extremely serious".

Station owner Piccadilly Radio made no attempt to defend Mr Stannage and said the content was "totally unacceptable".

Key 103 was previously fined 11,000 for comments made by him on his late-night show about the deaths of Chinese cockle pickers in Morecambe Bay. He has since left the station.

James Stannage no longer works at the station, his contract having been terminated earlier this year
Gus McKenzie, Key 103

The latest fine is the highest imposed by Ofcom on a British radio station.

Ofcom said there had been a "most serious failure" in its compliance procedures, despite Mr Stannage's track record, and cited a lack of editorial control at the station.

It said the presenter had made jokes about Mr Bigley's death just two days after he was beheaded in Iraq.

'Apologise wholeheartedly'

Mr Stannage also made controversial political comments about the Iraq War and highly abusive comments concerning Muslims, using a mock Asian accent.

Gus McKenzie, Key 103's Managing Director, said: "We completely accept the Ofcom finding and have apologised wholeheartedly.

"James Stannage no longer works at the station, his contract having been terminated earlier this year."

In addition to the fine, Key 103 must also broadcast the regulator's statement of finding three times every day for a week.


SEE ALSO:
DNA tests to find Bigley's body
15 Sep 05 |  Merseyside
French and Saunders spoof rapped
04 May 05 |  Entertainment


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