ON Broadcast Blog

Please do not swear you’re live on-air

There’s a special kind of buzz that comes with watching your coverage go out on live TV or radio. But the very nature of live broadcast means that anything can happen. To celebrate the unexpected here are our top 5 live on-air gaffes:


5. Charlotte Green has a giggling fit on BBC Radio 4 Today Programme

How we miss hearing the dulcet tones of Charlotte Green reading the news in the morning.  Here she is suffering from a fit of the giggles after an item about the first human voice, singing Au Clair de la Lune.  It was later revealed that James Naughtie whispered in her ear that it sounded like a “bee buzzing in a bottle.



4. Adam Boulton swallows a fly live on-air

They say, you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.  Does this mean that the words uttered out of Adam Boulton’s mouth are of the sweet variety? Sky’s Political Editor showed his true professionalism and dedication to the job after swallowing a fly during a live broadcast.



3.  The classic Freudian slip

The very first presenter to make the infamous Jeremy Hunt gaffe was BBC Radio 4 Today Programme Presenter James Naughtie.    What’s really priceless though is when Naughie struggles to regain his composure and fails to read the rest of news bulletin after the mangled introduction.



2. Rage Against the Machine drop the F-bomb live on-air  

Back in 2009 a Facebook campaign was launched to prevent the winner of the X Factor from taking the Christmas number one spot for the fifth consecutive year and instead give that honour to 90s’ rap-metal band Rage Against the Machine for their anti-establishment song ‘Killing in the Name ’.   As the race for the top spot heated up, the band were invited to do a live link-up performance with BBC Radio 5 Live Breakfast Show from Los Angeles.  For those of you not familiar with the song, the uncensored version contains the word “f***” seventeen times.  And as the track builds in intensity the predictable finally happened and lead singer Zack De La Rocha unleashed the infamous line we were all waiting for…



1. The wrong guy  

One of the most memorable on-air moments we’ve seen during our time in Broadcast PR was when Guy Goma turned up to BBC White City for a job interview.  While most job interviews can be rough, some are just plain nerve-racking.  Imagine sitting nervously in reception of the biggest broadcaster in the UK and someone approaches you, asks if your name is Guy and bundles you off to another part of the building.  You take a seat, notice cameras and a crew in the room with you too, but this is the BBC – so perhaps not out of the realm of possibility?


Guy Goma gained international fame when he was accidentally interviewed live on BBC News 24 about the Apple vs Apple court case.   The expert was meant to be Guy Kewney, editor of Newswireless.net. Mr Goma was asked three questions live on air, assuming this was an interview situation, but they had nothing to do with the data support cleanser job he had applied for…



We REALLY hope Guy got the job!


The thrill of live broadcast – expect the unexpected!  Tweet us with your favourite on-air gaffes, blunders and broadcast funnies.



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