BIRMINGHAM, ALA., JULY 12 -- A radio station today suspended a talk show host who banned black listeners from speaking on his show because a station employee's car was broken into and her purse stolen, allegedly by a black man.
Berkley Fraser, manager of WERC-AM, went on the air with his apology and said Tim Lennox was being suspended indefinitely after this afternoon's show to give the station time to review the situation.
"We encourage free expression with live programming, and unfortunately mistakes do occur," said Fraser.
Callers to "The Tim Lennox Show" Wednesday were asked their race before being allowed to talk on the air, Lennox said. He said he took the action after he described the theft to listeners and reported that a black man was a suspect.
Callers talked about their experiences as victims of crime and how to avoid becoming a victim, but nearly half were critical of Lennox for banning blacks, the Birmingham Post-Herald reported.
The Rev. Abraham Woods, president of the Birmingham chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, said he would demand an apology from Lennox.
"That was uncalled-for action on his part," Woods said. "It really bordered on stupidity in this day and time."
Lennox said he could not explain his action.
"On the spur of the moment, I said, 'Let's not take calls from any blacks,' " he said.
"It was interesting, the reaction to it," said Lennox, who has worked in radio for 15 years. "I had my boss sticking his head in the door. ... If nothing else, it says something about the racial sensitivity."