Between the Lines: Why Emap must toe the line

Somebody at Emap has a sense of humour. Within hours of receiving a record £175,000 fine from Ofcom for breaching regulations on its Kiss FM station (this page), Emap had put out a press release announcing Dave Lee Travis had been hired as a DJ on its cuddly Magic station.

It was as if Emap was trying to exorcise the memory of bad language and other offences on Kiss with the news that the safe, family friendly "Hairy Cornflake" will be part of its stable.

Yet the reality for Emap is far more serious. Ofcom's outspoken attack on Emap's management, accusing it of showing an "abject failure" in controlling talent and a "total inability" to impose compliance structures, will have made uncomfortable reading for Emap Radio's boss, Dee Ford, and her team.

Emap admitted it had taken its eye off the ball because of its bid for Scottish Radio Holdings. It must now banish such ineptitude and adopt greater controls over its content, because Ofcom has the power to revoke licences and won't be afraid to use it if Emap transgresses again.