Jimmy Savile's former BBC radio colleague Paul Gambaccini claimed on Tuesday it was known among staff that the late presenter targeted vulnerable, "institutionalised" young people.
And he alluded to claims Savile had been involved in "necrophilia" and questioned why newspapers had failed to run stories about suspicions while he was alive.
Gambaccini worked with Savile at Radio 1 where he had first heard stories about his abuse of under-age girls.
He told Radio 5 Live presenter Nicky Campbell on Tuesday that he used a "politically incorrect" term to categorise the people to whom Savile devoted his attentions.
"The expression I came to associate with Savile's sexual partners was either one used by production assistants or one I made up to summarise their reports ... 'under-age subnormals'," said Gambaccini.
"He targeted the institutionalised, the hospitalised - and this was known. Why did Jimmy go to hospitals? That's where the patients were."
But he said these things were taking place at a time when staff failed to get to grips with the concept of paedophilia.
"It was considered so far beyond the pale that people didn't believe it happened," he said during the 5 Live Breakfast Show.
And he said the problems with failing to call Savile to account went well beyond the BBC.
He questioned why newspapers had not acted when he said a tabloid reporter had boasted that his colleagues were aware of a story linking Savile to "necrophilia".
Campbell pointed out: "That particularly lurid accusation that you have just brought to people's attention is one that has not been in the public domain."
Gambaccini agreed and asked "why not?" And he asked: "Who vetted the knighthood? Coco the clown?"
He said the entire society was taken in by Savile - "including the prime minister who invited him to Chequers; including the royal family, photographed with him, he got a knighthood in this country, he got a papal knighthood.
"This is not just the BBC this is history, this is a man who conned an entire society," Gambaccini added.
It came as the BBC Director General George Entwistle was accused by MPs of failing to "get a grip" and compared to James Murdoch during a stormy select committee session in the wake of the Savile sex abuse allegations, after which the culture secretary said the scandal raised "very real concerns" about public trust in the BBC.
In a letter to Lord Patten, the chairman of the BBC Trust, Maria Miller said: "Following today's select committee hearing and the revelations that have emerged about the factual inaccuracies in the BBC's explanation about why the Savile item in Newsnight was pulled, very real concerns are being raised about public trust and confidence in the BBC.
"In all our conversations we have talked about the paramount importance of full public trust in the BBC's inquiries and agreed that it is essential that licence fee payers can be assured that they are being conducted thoroughly and with the full cooperation of the BBC, in line with the Trust's duty to 'ensure that the BBC observes high standards of openness and transparency'."
Ms Miller said it was "vital that these inquiries are able to follow the evidence wherever it takes them" and welcomed Lord Patten's "commitment" that would happen.
In a letter responding to Mrs Miller tonight, Lord Patten wrote: "You know how seriously the Trust takes the allegations surrounding Jimmy Savile and the need to maintain public trust in the BBC."
He said the inquiries would be "comprehensive and independent", adding: "You have recognised both the credibility and the scope of those who are leading the inquiries and the wide scope of their terms of reference."
But the peer also delivered a thinly-veiled warning that the government should not wade into the row.
"I know that you will not want to give any impression that you are questioning the independence of the BBC," he wrote.
Jimmy Savile in 1961 around the time he was working for Radio Luxembourg. He is at London Airport with Pan American stewardess Birgit Johansson with two gold discs; one is for American singer Elvis Presley for having sold one million copies of "It's Now or Never" in the UK, and the other is for Presley's manager, Colonel Tom Parker
Cilla Black and Jimmy Savile before a Variety Club Luncheon at the Savoy Hotel. Taken in 1964, the year Savile became the first presenter of Top of the Pops
Two women have come forward with allegations from the 1960s, one who was 14 and another who was a teenager when she claims Savile sexually abused her in Scarborough
Savile in 1969 with Physically Handicapped and Able-Bodied (PHAB) member Erika Mentz from Germany and other PHAB members at a dance at Devonshire House
1969 also saw Savile begin volunteering at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital for specialist spinal injuries. He would later be given a room there
Jimmy Savile presenting a cheque to children on behalf of the NSPCC in 1969
The 1970s saw Savile start volunteering at Leeds General Infirmary and...
... Broadmoor secure high-security psychiatric hospital. Allegations by former patients have been made against Savile although ex-workers have disputed the idea that he could have been left alone with anyone whilst working there
The 70s also saw the start of Jim'll Fix It. Allegations from this period include Caroline Moore, a 13-year-old patient at Stoke Mandeville hospital in 1971, who says Savile "rammed his tongue" down her throat and another allegation accuses Savile of molesting a brain-damaged teenage patient at Leeds General Infirmary in 1972
The 1980s saw the continuation of Top of the Pops and Jim'll Fix It as Savile became a much loved household name. Two allegations relating to this time include one from a then-15-year-old girl (not pictured) who made a complaint of abuse by Savile in Lancashire. Pictured is 12-year-old Rebecca Heap
Savile at the Stoke Mandeville hospital with injured children from Beirut in 1987
Savile was knighted in 1990 and continued his charity work throughout the decade
Savile was questioned in 2007 by police about allegations of sexual abuse but the Crown Prosecution service says there is not enough evidence to warrant a prosecution
A 2008 police report into abuse at the Haut de Garenne children's home in Jersey names Savile, although this is never made public
Savile re-united with his Jim'll Fix It chair in 2009. The previous year Sussex police received a complaint of sexual assault but went on to say the victim was "unwilling to co-operate in any investigation"
Jimmy Savile is found dead at the age of 84 in October 2011. He is buried in Scarborough
In December 2011 the BBC drop an investigation by Newsnight into the allegations of sexual abuse by Jimmy Savile. Three tribute programmes are aired instead
ITV airs a documentary, 'Exposure, the Other Side of Jimmy Savile', in which a number of women claim they were abused by Savile as youngsters, including Karin Ward (pictured)
Within days of the documentary, many more allegations surface. By the 9 October Peter Spindler of the Metropolitan Police tells the BBC: "It is quite clear from what women are telling us that Savile was a predatory sex offender"
11 October 2012 and George Entwistle, Director General of the BBC, asks journalists why the Newsnight programme was dropped as police from Tayside, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and North Yorkshire police say they are investigating allegations going back to 1959
12 October and police reveal they have 340 potential lines of inquiry
15 October sees a man come forward alleging that Savile abused him when he was a nine-year-old boyscout
Savile's family removed his headstone from his grave and broke it up in the wake of the furore
Jimmy Savile sexually abuses transgender man
A transgender man comes forward alleging that Jimmy Savile 'stuck his hand up his nightdress' while he was a 17-year-old teenage girl at Broadmoor in the 1970's. More here http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/10/15/jimmy-savile-timeline-abuse-allegations_n_1966426.html?1350304573#slide=1641388