Talkradio presenter Jamie East has left the station after one of his colleagues cut up a face mask live on air.
East, who presented a Sunday afternoon slot on the News UK station for the past two years, said yesterday’s show had been his last.
His resignation was apparently triggered by Friday drivetime presenter and stand-up comedian Mark Dolan’s viral stunt earlier this month in which he protested against the wearing of face masks to stop the spread of Covid-19.
Dolan told listeners: “If you want to save lives and get the country back on track, the only option is to get back to normal – and the first step to achieving that is to get rid of these wretched, godawful, damned, blinking, uncomfortable, scientifically empty, useless masks.”
Ofcom received 36 complaints about Dolan’s programme on 4 September, the majority of which related to “irresponsible comments made on the use of face masks”.
The broadcast regulator is assessing the complaints against its broadcasting rules as it decides whether or not to launch a full investigation.
A video from the official Talkradio Twitter account showing Dolan cutting up a mask has been viewed almost 2m times.
Mark Dolan cuts up his face mask live on air: "If you want to save lives and get the country back on track, the only option is to get back to normal. The first step to achieving that is binning these wretched masks".
— talkRADIO (@talkRADIO) September 4, 2020
Sharing the video clip, East said today: “It’s clear that Talkradio has a clearly defined idea of where it’s heading, sadly not many of those ideals were a great fit.”
The presenter, who previously worked on sister station Virgin Radio before moving over to Talkradio, said his time at the company “didn’t work out, but it was (mostly) a laugh”.
East has launched a news podcast called The Smart 7 in April which aims to tell people what they need to know each day in under seven minutes.
Talkradio programme director Dennie Morris said in a statement: “Jamie is a great broadcaster and has been a pleasure to work with. We wish him all the very best.”
Ofcom is prioritising complaints connected to Covid-19 that contain any potentially harmful health claims or medical advice or misleading information about the coronavirus or public policy surrounding it.
News UK is currently gearing up to launch its first TV channel, which is also expected to be right-leaning in the style of Fox News in the US. It will have competition from GB News, a rival planned station now headed up by Andrew Neil.