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BLOG: Pennies from Heaven

The other man's grass is always greener. Unless they've had it paved over to park the wife's SUV. Yes, you may have all the rotten luck working in commercial radio, what with companies tossing off loyal staff like… no, that's too easy.

However, over on the dark side at the BBC, it hasn't exactly been a bed of roses, or a hammock of Whores.

If you've never worked at the corporation, dismiss any ideas you have of a dozen staff per show. That may still happen at a network level, but local stations have been raped and pillaged by cuts over the past five years. There are far fewer journalists and producers responsible for local output than you imagine.

So how will those editors that manage the achingly tight budgets, or those journalists that have been forced into redundancy feel about the news that the BBC's Head of Audio and Music is leaving the corporation with a pension fund of £4 million. Or to put it another disgustingly obscene way that may make you throw up in your mouth, an annual pension of over £190,000.

Of. Public. Money.

Well not all of it is public money, obviously, but Jenny Abramsky is quitting the BBC with enough in the bank to fund nearly three local BBC stations for a year. Perhaps it's quite right too, given that she's worked for the corporation for nearly 40 years. But £4 million? Really? The highest pension fund held in the public sector?

The BBC pension scheme is incredibly generous and, according to The Times, contributes more than three times the amount paid by employees, the reason the unions have fought so hard to see it maintained. Now? Just one year of that pension could secure the jobs of nearly eight local journalists or producers.

It's no secret that there's money sloshing about all areas of the radio industry, commercial and the BBC; the extravagance of our industry can be enjoyed or appalled by. Perhaps it's best the BBC has been forced to reinvent itself in recent years, because those who practised radio in past generations seem to have done so much less while been rewarded with so much more.

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