BBC radio and TV presenter Jonathan Ross, recently included in Billboard's "Maximum Exposure" issue focusing on the top platforms for music, has been suspended for 12 weeks by the corporation over "utterly unacceptable" comments on air.

The presenter was initially taken off the BBC on Oct. 29 along with comedian Russell Brand over a phone prank the pair staged on Brand's pre-recorded Radio 2 show on Oct. 18.

Their boss at the AC network, Lesley Douglas, has resigned. Radio 2 is the most popular station in the U.K. with an audience reach of 13.06 million, according to research body RAJAR.

Douglas was also controller of modern rock station BBC 6 Music and controller of BBC popular music, which put her in charge of a single pan-platform music strategy for the corporation.

Brand also resigned and apologized following the outcry, which led TV news bulletins and made the front pages of the U.K. press.

More than 37,000 people have complained to the BBC over the stunt, almost all of them following media coverage of the initial broadcast, which involved Brand and Ross leaving messages on the answer phone of veteran actor Andrew Sachs, best known as Manuel in the 1970s TV comedy "Fawlty Towers." The messages included crude comments about Brand's relationship with Sachs' grand-daughter

Ross will not be paid during the suspension period. As a result, he will lose out on more than £1 million ($1.6 million) according to BBC reports.

BBC director-general Mark Thompson reported to a meeting of the BBC Trust Editorial Standards Committee on the circumstances surrounding the broadcast.

"The ultimate editorial responsibility for BBC programs lies with producers and editorial managers," said Thompson in a statement. "The consequences of errors of judgement are therefore more serious for managers.

"Nonetheless, Jonathan Ross's contribution to this edition of the Russell Brand Show was utterly unacceptable and cannot be allowed to go uncensured or without sanction. A 12-week suspension is an exceptional step, but I believe it is a proportionate response to Jonathan's role in this unhappy affair."

Ross hosts a popular BBC One TV show "Friday Night With Jonathan Ross" featuring celebrity guests and musical performances. It scored ratings of 3.5 million on Oct. 3, but has proved controversial because of the near-the-knuckle humour.

He also has a Radio 2 show, which airs on Saturday at 10am and averaged 3.04 million listeners in the second quarter of 2008. Ross' two shows earned him a No. 10 placing in Billboard's "Maximum Exposure: U.K" Top 10 (Sept. 27).

The BBC Trust has approved a series of management actions, including a study into where the appropriate boundaries of taste and standards should lie across all BBC output and a review of compliance procedures on BBC radio in the Audio & Music division.

Thompson added: "Jonathan Ross has already made a comprehensive and unreserved personal apology to Andrew Sachs and his grand-daughter. I believe that he fully understands the seriousness of what has happened. I have made very clear to him the central importance of the clause in his contract about not bringing the BBC into disrepute. We agree that nothing like this must ever happen again and that tight discipline will be required for the future."

Media regulator Ofcom is conducting its own investigation.