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Chris Evans named as highest-paid BBC presenter

Radio 2 breakfast host Chris Evans was paid more than £2.2 million by the BBC last year, making him the corporation’s highest-earning presenter.

Chris was given between £2.2m and £2.249m by the BBC in 2016-17, according to figures published today in the BBC’s Annual Report which details salaries for talent earning more than £150,000.

Several other Radio 2 presenters are on the list – which shows amounts within £50,000 brackets – including Graham Norton, Jeremy Vine, Steve Wright and Claudia Winkleman. Many of them do work for a variety of BBC programmes and outlets – for example Jeremy Vine also presents the Eggheads quiz show, Points of View and Crimewatch on BBC One and is part of the election night coverage. Claudia Winkleman does one weekly show for Radio 2 alongside television presenting work. It’s understood Chris Evans’ pay for last year includes his work for Top Gear.

Radio 4’s Today Programme presenter John Humphrys is in the 600-650k bracket, which will also include pay for other duties such as presenting Mastermind. His co-presenters earn significantly less – Nick Robinson received £250k+, Mishal Hussain got £200k+, Justin Webb £150k+, while Sarah Montague does not appear on the list so was paid under £150,000 last year.

Other BBC Radio stars missing from the list include Radio 4’s Jane Garvey and Dame Jenni Murray.

Steve Wright, who only works for Radio 2, was paid £500-500k, while 5 live’s top earners are Nicky Campbell and Stephen Nolan, were both paid more than £400,000 during the year for their work across the BBC.

Radio 1’s highest paid presenter is Nick Grimshaw, on more than £350,000 last year. Scott Mills falls into the £250,000-£300,000 bracket, while drivetime presenter Greg James was paid £150-200k.

Names from BBC Nations and Regions on the list include BBC London’s Vanessa Feltz, Radio Ulster’s Stephen Nolan and Radio Wales presenter Jason Mohammad – all of whom do network radio shows and TV work.

Here we list BBC presenters who do programmes for BBC Radio, with the caveat that their main job may be on television or that they have income from television work on top of their radio income.

£2,200,000 – £2,249,999
Chris Evans (Radio 2)

£850,000 – £899,999
Graham Norton (Radio 2)

£700,000 – £749,999
Jeremy Vine (Radio 2)

£600,000 – £649,000
John Humphrys (Radio 4)

£500,000 – £549,999
Steve Wright (Radio 2)

£450,000 – £499,999
Claudia Winkleman (Radio 2)

£400,000 – £449,999
Nicky Campbell (5 live)
Stephen Nolan (5 live/Radio Ulster)
Andrew Marr (Radio 4)

£350,000 – £399,999
Vanessa Feltz (Radio 2 / BBC Radio London)
Nick Grimshaw (Radio 1)
Simon Mayo (Radio 2 / 5 live)

£300,000 – £349,999
Lauren Laverne (6 Music)
Eddie Mair (Radio 4)

£250,000 – £299,999
Ken Bruce (Radio 2)
Scott Mills (Radio 1)
Trevor Nelson (Radio 2/1Xtra)
Zoe Ball (Radio 2)
Evan Davis (Radio 4)
Jason Mohammad (Radio Wales / 5 live)
Nick Robinson (Radio 4)

£200,000 – £249,999
Mark Radcliffe (Radio 2 / 6 Music)
Mark Chapman (5 live)
Jools Holland (Radio 2)
John Inverdale (5 live)
Mishal Husain (Radio 4)
Martha Kearney (Radio 4)

£150,000 – £199,999
Adrian Chiles (5 live)
Greg James (Radio 1)
Shaun Keaveny (6 Music)
Moira Stuart (Radio 2)
Jo Whiley (Radio 2)
Jonathan Agnew (5 live)
John Pienaar (5 live)
Justin Webb (Radio 4)

The figures have been published as part of the requirements of the latest BBC Charter from the government, with the Culture Secretary Karen Bradley saying publishing the salaries of stars would bring the BBC “in line with the civil service” on transparency.

The BBC Director General, Lord Hall, disagrees with the requirement to publish the salaries, and urged caution when comparing rates paid to different individuals, saying their responsibilities may vary widely even if their on-air roles appear similar. The BBC says the £150,000-plus salaries represent “less than a quarter of 1%” of its talent contracts last year.

It’s also important to note that the figures are only for work carried out directly for the BBC. For example, Graham Norton’s total includes work for Radio 2, Eurovision and Saturday night entertainment shows, but not his BBC One Friday night chat show which is made by an indie.

BBC Management Pay for 2016-17

Also included in today’s Annual Report are the latest figures on executive pay at the BBC.
BBC Director of Radio and Education James Purnell and Director of Radio Bob Shennan both received pay in the £250-300k bracket. The former Director of Radio Helen Boaden received renumeration for 2016-17 in the £350-400k band.

Radio 1 Controller Ben Cooper, Radio 3 Controller Alan Davey and Radio 4 Controller Gwyneth Williams’ pay was all in the £150-200k band, as was the Controller of English Regions David Holdsworth.

You can see the full document listing talent and management pay here.

Listen to Jeremy Vine talking to BBC Director of Radio & Education James Purnell about the story on Radio 2 today:

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  1. Owen says

    I’m guessing Tony Blackburn’s freelance?

  2. Andy says

    I believe after the legal action taken against the BBC last year they are legally not allowed to publish Tony’s details as this would be a breach of confidentially from the outcome of his legal action. Had the BBC not reinstated him it’s rumoured it would have cost the BBC considerably more – he had a very good lawyer.

  3. Paul Bouzan says

    I believe all of these presenter would be operating on a Freelance basis? I seriously doubt they are on PAYE at these sorts of figures!

  4. AC says

    In the so called interest of equality are they going to lower the,salaries of the top male presenters or simply up the pay scales of the female presenters? If you take into account all the outlets and not just The radio work is the salary justified. Could they get that level of remuneration on a commercial station? I suspect that it is not a level,playing field in so many ways and unless you have disclosure across the industry not just the BBC then it is all pretty meaningless and unless those named have a guilty conscious then it will all be forgotten in a few days and they will still take the cash. Rock on the over inflated egos of those who are really taking the p..

  5. Radio Geordie says

    Whilst many media organisations got the knives out for the BBC today, it would be interesting to know the following:
    A – What’s the ratio of men to women in their organisation?
    & B – What is the difference in pay between the two doing the same jobs?

    It’s a pitty that the likes of ITV, Channel 4, Global, Bauer, Sky et. al., won’t follow suit and publish what they pay their ‘so called stars’ (that slimy toad Piers Morgan springs instantly to mind). Not only that, its about time we knew exactly what our MPs are paid, and how much they claim back in ‘so called’ expenses.

    Lord (Michael) Grade hit the nail on the head though:
    What this will do is to push the wage bill even higher (quoted from the Guardian).
    I don’t think he was referring solely to the BBC either.

    Is the BBC is paying too much? Just scroll back up the page read read what John Humphrys & a hand full of others have said.

  6. Stuart Britton says

    Can`t believe Scott Mills is paid more than £250,000!Is it April fools day?

  7. Radio Geordie says

    May I suggest that readers also look at the following?

    I’ve just read it and he does have a point – The BBC is pretty much on a par with other broadcasters in what they pay their ‘talent’.

    Ant & Dec are paid at least the same as Chris Evans for working exclusively for ITV. Does anyone complaint about that? No. Most viewers would say that they are worth it. If they were at the BBC and getting paid the same, would viewers say they were worth it? I doubt it. The print media in particular would stir the hornets nest into a frenzy and call for the abolition of the licence fee with comments like “how dare the BBC waste our money on these two”.

    As I said in an earlier post, if all other media companies had to reveal what their staff or talent were paid, then coverage of this story would barely have registered as a blip.

    1. Jim Allen says

      You forget the difference between the BBC and commercial channels is the fact that we the taxpayers contribute to the salaries of the former’s broadcasters through the licence fee which is why this story is newsworthy irrespective of what nonentities like Piers Morgan and Ant & Dec are paid.

      What this list does show is how much money the BBC could save by employing proper radio presenters rather than so-called celebrities.

      As for Twitter Lineker who seems to be only surpassed for stupidity nowadays by Twitter Trump if he is so outraged by it all he can always resign and hawk his “talents” elsewhere. He might find the queue of bidders rather shorter than he thinks though.

  8. Steve says

    The BBC should not be using OUR licence fee tax payers money trying to compete with the commerical sector paying inflated salaries for so called celeb presenters. In the 70s the BBC made much better shows than they do now on a much lower budget and they were not PC and biased like now either. The BBC should go back to those days and be cut down to size instead of the bloated inefficient organisation it is today.

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