"Unfunny" remarks

Review from the Office of the Ombudsman | English Services

Summary

“Unfunny” remarks made by host of CBC Edmonton's Radio Active

You wrote initially to complain of remarks made by program host Mark Scholz on the CBC Edmonton program Radio Active on February 23, 2010. In the course of a live broadcast which, I gather, was just prior to the start of the Canada-Germany game at the Olympics, Mr. Scholz engaged in conversation with the program's traffic reporter, Rod Kurtz, who was doing a remote broadcast from a tavern. In the course of their talk, Mr. Scholz said that Mr. Kurtz should “clock” anyone found drinking a Beck's beer. It was clear that Mr. Kurtz did not really understand the reference to the German beer.

In various notes you termed his remark “hateful,” “unfunny” and “unnecessary” and made reference to what you said was an anti-German diatribe.

Andrea Graham, the Program Manager for CBC Radio in Edmonton, responded that indeed the remark was “inappropriate” and that the issue had been discussed with Mr. Scholz to insure that it would not happen again.

You were unsatisfied with the response and asked for a review.


Forgive me if this is one of the shortest reviews I will do. You were absolutely right that the remark was “unfunny” and “unnecessary.” I did not find it “hateful” in context, nor was it part of what you termed an “anti-German diatribe.”

It was a feeble attempt at “jock” humour and was more suitable to the locker room than the airwaves. I do not ordinarily referee humour, since senses of humour differ so widely, but, in this case, I can at least point out that the remark hardly qualifies in the category.

That being said, I do feel that Ms. Graham's action—in effect, admonishing Mr. Scholz and trying to insure that further feeble attempts at inappropriate humour do not take place—was the right one.

I have no evidence that the host makes it a regular habit of such nonsense.

Conclusion

The remark complained of is clearly a violation of “good taste.” There might have been some mitigation if it had actually been funny, but, alas, it was not. Local program management appears to have taken appropriate action in the circumstances.

Vince Carlin
CBC Ombudsman