Veteran BBC local radio DJ David Lowe has lost his job after accidentally playing a song from 1932 on his golden oldies radio show that contained the n-word. Lowe, 68, had been working with the BBC for 32 years.
Lowe, who presents a Sunday night Singers and Swingers show on Radio Devon, characterised the incident as an “innocent mistake”. He said he was unaware that the 1932 version of The Sun Has Got His Hat On, by the British dance band Ambrose and his Orchestra, included the n-word.
Writing on his online blog, Lowe explained BBC management took action after a listener heard the song broadcast on Mr Lowe’s Sunday night program and complained. Although later versions of the song dropped the word, the original lyrics featured the line: “He’s been tanning [n-word] out in Timbuktu, now he’s coming back to do the same to you.”
“I would like to apologise unreservedly to all of you, especially those who may have been offended by the track in question,” he wrote on his blog. Lowe said he had offered to make an on-air apology, but BBC management instead decided to accept his offer to “fall on his sword”.
“Unfortunately, this was a genuine error on my part … the first of its kind I made in my 32 years of broadcasting … but, given today’s unforgiving obsession with political correctness, I have been compelled to pay the ultimate price,” wrote Lowe on his blog.
The BBC have since offered Mr Lowe his job back, conceding that the situation could have been handled better. Despite this, Lowe said the incident had affected his health and exacerbated a stress-related condition, so he will not be returning to the corporation.
“We have offered David Lowe the opportunity to continue presenting his Singers And Swingers show, and we would be happy to have him back on air,” a BBC spokesperson said. “We accept that the conversation with David about the mistake could have been handled better, but if he chooses not to continue then we would like to thank him for his time presenting on the station and wish him well for the future.”
The incident comes after Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson survived calls for his resignation from the BBC, when an unbroadcast clip surfaced of him apparently using the n-word, while reciting a children’s nursery rhyme during an episode of his show. He has since apologised, “begging” for forgiveness.