TalkSport Fires Host Over BNP Membership
November 20, 2008 at 5:14 AM (PT)
UTV U.K. national Sports station TALKSPORT has fired a second talk host this week, this time axing late-night personality ROD LUCAS after his name was disclosed on a list of members of the white-nationalist BRITISH NATIONAL PARTY. The exposure of BNP members in the leak of a membership list has generated major headlines in the U.K. this week. LUCAS has worked for TALKSPORT on a freelance basis, and the station says that it has "no plans" to continue to use him.
LUCAS, a former BBC RADIO 1 producer, issued a statement on his website saying, "Following recent coverage of ROD in the newspapers, he is putting the record straight. Being a Radio Documentary & Talks Producer/Presenter - along with 3 other broadcast colleagues - he decided to make 3 1 hour specials on various pressure groups and political parties, one of which was the BNP. Others included the COMMUNIST PARTY, ANIMAL RIGHTS, and FATHERS FOR JUSTICE. Each member of the production team joined different parties and groups using their real names, to get inside the movements of each organization.
"ROD says 'I mentioned during my broadcasts at the time, my intentions of joining and charted the progress on air and dually signed to the BNP 2004/2005 for 1 year only. I used my real name and profession as a radio journalist/production. It was no secret to my listeners. In making investigative programming sometimes program makers have to probe a little deeper in order to get some real facts about operations. Via the membership newsletter I was given access to membership meetings and their private on-line forum - not for public consumption. A lot of what I saw and read was no worse than opinions expressed on freely available public forums. We wanted to make a fair and balanced program on the inside & organization of the BNP.
"'For the record I'm also a member of other political parties and pressure groups right across the spectrum in my capacity as a radio news & current affairs presenter/producer. In my news profession one needs to dirty one's hands in order to get the story, it's the only way of getting fair and balanced programming. Some people in broadcasting might want to try it sometime. I told my audience at the time I was joining. My views on the BNP are well documented, but for the record -- I find many of their policies most distasteful and NOT ones I'd vote for. However many of their members appear to be normal people where the race issue is not an overriding issue in their voting for the BNP.
"'I've been making popular passionate talk programming since 1975, I intend doing so in future. Thanks for reading my side of the story.'"