Archive for September, 2009

The end of the summer

September 19th, 2009 5 comments

helenmm1s pic

Summer is almost at an end. The weather at the moment is lovely but there is a chill in the air. I’ve picked the blackberries and my veg plot lettuce has gone to seed or been eaten by rabbits.

There seems to be a bunny invasion this year. There are some sand dunes nearby where there are always plenty of bunnies out and about in the early evening but, up until a few weeks ago, we’d never seen a rabbit on our land. Now, almost every time I go outside I spot a white tail bobbing away. It’s all very exciting for Trudi and concerning for us. What has changed?

Our wonderful friends from Amsterdam, The Polranny Pirates have gone home. They kept us entertained during the summer. We were very sorry to see them go.

The picture above was taken from the pier near our house. You can see our house in the background. What a glorious day it was, and only last week! It was taken by my twitter friend Helen who was kind enough to let me use it. She kayaked around Achillbeg and was badly bitten by midges in the process.

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It’s not just me, RTÉ (part 6)

September 18th, 2009 1 comment

I’ve had a response, here it is*:

(*I’ve chopped off the first line which was nice and friendly and the last line which includes the name and job title of the person who responded)

Many thanks for your enquiry.

In relation to advertising guidelines, RTÉ adheres to both guidelines from ASAI, The Alcohol Monitoring Bureau, the BCI and  its own internal Guidelines.

The guidelines listed above are directed primarily at broadcast and where possible, emulated across online properties, however in certain instances are
stricter – for example, no advertising is carried across children’s websites or children’s programmes on the RTÉ player.

Specifically with respect to your query relating to alcohol advertising, rté.ie does carry alcohol advertising in accordance with industry guidelines and our own internal guidelines.

I have attached an excerpt below from the Alcohol, Marketing, Communications and Sponsorship Codes of Practice, for your information:

‘The Codes herein are based on the principle of audience profiling across all media and sponsorships
whereby alcohol advertising/marketing is not permitted unless the relevant
medium has an adult audience profile of 75% or greater.

In addition, where alcohol advertising is permissible under audience profiling a weight ceiling will
apply across all media and sponsorships whereby alcohol advertising will be limited to no more
than 25% of available space on any occasion’

I can confirm that we are in compliance in relation to your query.

Kind Regards,

Not a bad email really. I’m going to let it sink in, over the weekend, before I say anything.

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It’s not just me, RTÉ (part 5)

September 16th, 2009 No comments

Impressive response from RTÉ. One of the new email addresses I tried, seems to have got me through to the right people and they clearly have a procedure for dealing with questions like mine. The status of my query has been updated several times today. I expect a response soon

Meanwhile, I’m still not happy with the 75% adult thing. I feel very uncomfortable about it. You see, referring back to ‘The definitive version of RTÉ Programme Standards and Guidelines’ as mentioned in part 2:

“The same standards which apply to RTÉ’s services on radio and television also apply to RTÉ Online.”

As well as the 75% rule, the Alcohol Marketing, Communications and Sponsorship Codes of Practice. states under the Television section:

Where alcohol advertising is permissible under audience profiling a maximum of 25% of sold
advertising time and only one in four advertisements for alcohol products is permissible across
the broadcast day excluding the period from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Additionally no more than two
advertisements for alcohol products can appear in any commercial break. The full provisions of this
clause are specifically intended to apply to the peak viewing periods from 6pm to 11.30pm.

and also:

Family ‘breakfast’ TV time (6am -10am) will be treated as children’s viewing time and will not carry
any alcohol advertising.

The adverts I’m concerned about, were visible for at least 72 consecutive hours including during Family ‘breakfast’ TV time”.

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It’s not just me, RTÉ (part 4)

September 15th, 2009 No comments

Although the ASAI originally told me that they are responsible for content of advertising only (see part 3). They’ve been very helpful and after further discussion have explained to me that there is however another code called the Alcohol Marketing, Communications and Sponsorship Codes of Practice. This code was initiated by the Minister for Health and Children in 2002. The ASAI  have been asked by the Department of Health to examine complaints received regarding complaints made under these Codes.

According to page 18, point 1:

Advertising for alcohol should only be booked by an alcoholic drinks advertiser or its agency or placed by the media owner on any website with an adult audience profile of 75% or greater. Where a profile is not available every reasonable effort should be made to ensure that it is not aimed at young people.

I’ve taken a look the RTÉ.ie ABC report for May 2009 – it’s the only one I could find a link to on the RTÉ site. According to that report, only 2.1% of users are under 18. Clearly the figures are very low (I do feel that under 18s are very unlikely to fill in an online survey) but even so I seems like the guidelines are being followed. They are split as follows; 16-17 years – 1.5%, 15 years – 0.6% and under 15 – 0%. I thought it was a little odd that there are 0 under 15s looking at the site until I discovered that: “The Visitor profile data stated is for ROI (Republic of Ireland) respondents 15+years only….” So under 15s aren’t counted at all. Maybe they wouldn’t tell the truth anyway. Maybe they are counted, but are making themselves older. How would we know.

I accept that guidelines are being followed in that regard, but personally, I still think that the ads reflect badly on our ‘National Broadcaster’. It’s not a great image for Ireland and for many outside the country, the RTÉ homepage is, in a way, our shop window.

Meanwhile, I’ve sent some more emails different RTÉ addresses as I’ve had no reply so far.

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It’s not just me, RTÉ! (part 3)

September 15th, 2009 No comments

I’m still awaiting a response from RTÉ. Here’s a reminder of what I’m getting het up about and remember, it was visible for at least 72 hrs, night and day.

Meanwhile, I recieved an email from  the ASAI (Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland) today:

….”The Code of Standards for Advertising, Promotional and Direct Marketing in Ireland generally refers to all media including, since August of this year, advertising on websites.  Our Code, however, deals with the content of advertising only.  Media owners may have their own guidelines on type of advertising they accept and is a matter for each media owner.   In the circumstances RTE should be able to assist you in your enquiry.”…

I had suspected that this might be the case. It’s beginning to seem like RTÉ don’t have to answer to anyone but themselves.

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Chick Update: September

September 10th, 2009 4 comments
l-r Trudi, Janet, La Toya and Tito

l-r Trudi, Janet, La Toya and Tito

We’ve been leaving the hens in the run recently as little Tito is too small to be roaming free outside even with his mother.  There was sunshine today and who knows when we’ll have some more?  The weather was nice enough for me to sit out on scarecrow duty so I opened up the run. Tito has now had his first trip out. He didn’t venture very far, but it’s a start. As you can see; Janet and La Toya are growing up fast and Trudi is still fascinated.  I still don’t have a clue what sex any of these birds are!


Is it just me, RTÉ? (part 2)

September 10th, 2009 No comments

Thanks to those of you who replied to me about RTÉ. I don’t normally get many comments on this blog because so very few people know it’s here. Your responses have got me thinking and it’s great to know that It’s NOT just me!

On September 4th I emailed RTÉ, this is what I said:

“Hello, I’m interested to know what kind of guidelines you have to adhere to regarding advertising on the RTÉ web site. Can you advise? I’m left wondering because personally, I’ve felt that the sheer amount of Bulmers ads on your home page this week has been too much. Maybe I’m overreacting but I don’t know the rules. It seems that that’s a lot of booze advertising for the daytime users.
Here’s a link to my blog where I mention my concern:

I sent this email to the ‘onlineproduction’ email address as recommended on the RTÉ  web site (as this is  a query about the web site). As of today, I’ve had no reply.

I’ve taken a good look at the documents on the RTÉ site including ‘The definitive version of RTÉ Programme Standards and Guidelines’. On page 87, under the heading ‘RTÉ’s Online Services’ it says:

“The same standards which apply to RTÉ’s services on radio and television also apply to RTÉ Online.”

Further on in that section:

“Awareness that children may access websites without parental supervision must be taken into account at all times by those with editorial responsibility for the contents of RTÉ Online.” (Note ‘editorial responsibility’).

Regarding Advertsing (Page 82):

“There are guidelines on advertising, children and broadcasting, product placement and sponsorship which must be observed.”

I’ve not been able to find out what the guidelines are. I’d love to look at them to see what they say about alcohol advertising.

On September 4th I also emailed the BCC (Broadcasting Complaints Commission) to ask what guidelines have to be met. I received a reply on September 7th:

….”Although the RTE website does fall within the remit of the BCC, this is only with regard to news and current affairs.”


“In relation to your complaint, you are required to contact RTE directly. You may wish to send your concerns to”

The thing is, I don’t actually know if I have a complaint (although I suspect I do), I just want to know what the guidelines are.

The BCC suggested I contact the ASAI (Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland). I’ve done this today. I’ve asked them about guidelines. I didn’t do this in the first instance because from what I can make out, the ASAI deal mainly with the suitability of an advert and not so much with when and where it is shown.

Well, I’ve got a little bee in my bonnet now, I’ll keep you posted when (if) something happens.

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What’s Al up to?

September 10th, 2009 No comments

I’m keeping him busy as usual; he’s perfecting our new numbering feature. It’s not as simple as it sounds. There’s no point in numbering list items unless the numbers can be changed and new items inserted into the middle of a list – that’s the tricky part. We’re almost there (or should I say, HE’S almost there!) Al’s done all of the hard work and I’m testing the new feature on Trivialists. Expect numbering to be rolled-out across the site soon.


Is it just me, RTÉ?

September 3rd, 2009 9 comments

Here’s the front page of the National Broadcaster RTÉ’s website, as it has been for the past few days.

RTÉ web site front page.

RTÉ web site front page.

Is it just me that finds all of this alcohol advertising a bit too much. Am I turning into an old fuddy-duddy? All of the 4 cider ads you can see are animated. Click to enlarge image.

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Another one bites the dust

September 3rd, 2009 No comments
Beaky at his best

Beaky at his best

Poor Beaky, he of the golden feathers, has been in a bad way recently. He had a badly damaged leg following a fight with Verne.  Al was brave enough to do the decent thing and put him out of his misery and no, we haven’t eaten him. He’s buried next to Marylin.