BBC Admit Over-publicising U2 Album

Following complaints made by the trade body for commercial UK audio broadcasters, RadioCentre, the BBC have admitted to giving rock group U2 “undue prominence” in its coverage of their album release No Line On The Horizon last February.

Critics picked the BBC up on several issues, including the slogan “U2=BBC”, which was suggested gave the impression the corporation endorsed the product. RadioCentre made a formal complaint about the¬†extensive publicity as broadcast by the BBC.


Aunty Beeb have acknowledged that the coverage of the band breached BBC editorial guidelines. The promotion of the album, which included a rooftop gig on top of the BBC’s Broadcasting House, had features on BBC Radio 1 and Radio¬†2 and have been met with disapproval not just from RadioCentre. MP Nigel Evans, a Conservative, said the transmission gave U2 “the sort of publicity money can’t buy” adding “Why should licence fee-payers shoulder the cost of U2’s publicity?” The promotion also included links on the BBC Online website for Radio 1 to ticket sales websites for the groups live concerts.


The BBC confirm that their Editorial Complaints Unit admit that a reference to the BBC being “part of launching this new album”, in an interview between Radio 1 presenter Zane Lowe and U2 singer Bono, was inappropriate. They also agreed it was not deemed correct for the website to contain the concert ticket sale links.



The ECU state “The Radio 1 leadership team have reminded executive producers and presenters about the issues to be considered in relation to judgments about undue prominence, and the distinction between the reporting of new artistic work and commercial promotion,” it said.

“The management of BBC Marketing, Communication and Audiences -responsible for the U2 = BBC design- has reminded all staff of the need to consult the editorial policy team in a timely manner for advice when potentially sensitive issues such as commercial interests are involved.”


The complaints about the rooftop concert were not upheld, the departments concerned with the breaches have been advised on proceedures.