Nihal Arthanayake was speaking at the Journalism Diversity Fund (JDF) conference at BBC Media City in Salford
The JDF awards bursaries to aspiring journalists from diverse backgrounds who do not have the financial means to support themselves through their training.
Arthanayake added: "The hardest thing is to walk into a room, look around and nobody looks like you.
"Since moving up here, being called the p-word – that didn’t happen in London.
"You’d get a slap for that in London, not even from me."
He said he doesn't think there’s a single Muslim involved in the senior editorial processes
Following the interview, Cheryl Varley, a BBC Radio 5 Live producer, said the organisation is committed to tackling the lack of diversity in its newsrooms.
After inviting the JDF bursary recipients for a tour of the newsroom at the end of the conference, she told them: "The BBC needs you a lot more than you need them because if we do not represent our audience, the future for the BBC is grim."
A BBC spokesperson said: "Events like this one today are instrumental in bringing new talent in as we work towards making our organisation as inclusive as possible.
"We want everyone who works at the BBC - and those considering a career with us - to know we are focussed on creating an inclusive culture where everyone feels they belong.
"We believe we should be setting the highest standards on diversity and we recognise that there is still more we could do, therefore we have clear plans in place to improve the diversity of our workforce."