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Friday, 25 July 2014

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CFM presenter's Rihanna monkey joke 'not racist'

A Carlisle radio station insists a 'monkey' joke told live on air was not racist.

Stu Tolan  photo
Stu Tolan

Listeners took to a social media page devoted to Carlisle to complain about the comments made on CFM Radio.

New Zealander Stu Tolan, who hosts the ‘In:Demand’ show, was plugging a competition on Thursday night to win a trip to Thailand where pop star Rihanna filmed her latest video.

He then made the joke about Rihanna, monkeys, Heathrow airport and Thailand.

The joke sparked a storm on Facebook where one person posted soon afterwards: “Anyone else just hear the Australian guy on CFM make a racist joke about Rihanna then backtrack about it?”

But Bauer Media, which owns CFM, confirmed yesterdaya thorough investigation had been carried out as it takes issues of this nature “extremely seriously”.

The company said it had listened back to the audio and spoke directly to the presenter and producer of the show and insisted the comments had been misinterpreted.

A spokeswoman explained: “His point, albeit rather confusingly, was to say that sometimes more interesting things happen in the chaos and hustle and bustle of airports rather than at the actual destination.

“As a Kiwi new to the UK, the presenter has on-air previously likened Heathrow to being rather like a zoo, where all the animals have been let loose.

“Having both listened to the audio and spoken to the presenter directly, we do not believe his comment was intended to be racist in any manner whatsoever.

“His comment just doesn’t make much sense, which is perhaps where the confusion and concern have arisen from, so we are guilty of perhaps poor radio content on this occasion – but certainly nothing more.

“CFM is a family-targeted station, and takes its role in the local community extremely seriously. We apologise unreservedly if any offence was caused by the comment in the show – this was certainly not the intention nor the intent.”

Cumbria Police confirmed that they had received no complaints in relation to the incident.

CFM Radio is a commercial radio station which has covered Carlisle and Cumbria for 17 years.

It describes its target audience as people aged between 25 and 44 who live and work in the county and in south west Scotland.

The station says it offers the “broadest variety of music and the most well-known engaging presenters who are truly passionate about our region”.

It adds that 105,000 adults tune into its shows every week.

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