An award-winning student radio station in SHEFFIELD faces going to the wall due to a ban on the playing of EMINEM’s music recently introduced by the station’s University Union, NME.COM can reveal.
SURE Radio, based at Sheffield University Student Union, risks losing both its funding and broadcasting licence whether it upholds the ban, implemented just before Christmas, or not.
The Student Union introduced the ban on the grounds that Eminem’s lyrics went against their gay-friendly policy and “intimidated” the college’s gay community.
Aside from a ban on the broadcast of Eminem music, the University’s student newspaper The Steel Press is also banned from reviewing any Eminem recorded or live material. Sale of Eminem merchandise in the student’s union is also prohibited, and DJs playing at club nights in the Union are also banned from playing Eminem tracks.
Under the constitution of their Union, if Sure Radio disregard the ban, their #3,600 annual funding from the Union, which is essential for the station’s survival, could be withdrawn. However, if they do implement it the Radio Authority could take away their licence on the grounds that they are not impartial and are in fact showing a political bias.
Describing the situation as “ridiculous,” Dan Morfitt, Head of Music at Sure – which won the CMU (College Music Update) station of the year award last year – told NME.COM: “The ban, which makes no sense, could cripple us. They are banning Eminem, but records featuring Eminem – like Dre’s – are not banned. And there are other artists who could be judged worse than Eminem in that regard anyway.” He added that three people out of the student community of 22,000 complained, and the Union’s Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual committee dismissed it as “stupid”.
Morfitt said: “But someone else on the Sabbatical board took up the cause, took it to a Sabbatical vote and it was passed by seven votes to one.” Morfitt added that despite the outcome, he intends to programme Eminem music on the station.
Neil Foster, a spokesperson for the Sabbatical board behind the ban, said they have no intention to relent: “This one little sacrifice that straight students have to make is nothing when you consider that it is creating a comfortable environment for all,” he said.
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