Broadcaster Stephen Nolan was at odds with a fellow BBC presenter ahead of his £400,000 to £449,000 salary being disclosed by the corporation.
The Radio Ulster and Radio Five Live presenter had a public exchange with William Crawley, host of Radio Ulster’s Talkback, over his refusal to be interviewed on the show about his pay packet.
Nolan, who also presents TV shows on BBC One Northern Ireland, said he would instead be quizzed on his own Radio Ulster morning show today.
Referring to his higher listener figures, Nolan – who dubs his programme “The biggest show in the country” – said he would rather his answers were broadcast to the widest audience possible.
Yesterday morning Crawley tweeted: “Stephen Nolan has turned down an invitation from @BBCTalkback to be interviewed on today’s programme about BBC salaries.”
Nolan referred to the tweet during his show, telling his listeners: “What I actually said to William is, I think it is really important for the maximum amount of people to have a chance to listen to someone interviewing me, and I think it is therefore important not to go on the smaller phone-in show but to go on the show which has the bigger audience.”
In response, Crawley tweeted: “I well understand that @StephenNolan would prefer to manage a story about himself on his own show rather than face me in an interview today.”
The story was picked up by the Belfast Telegraph, which claimed Nolan was “joking” when he gave his justification for not going on Talkback.
Nolan replied to the story link on Twitter: “Not joking. Important that I speak on the most listened to show in NI.”
Earlier, he told his listeners he would not have advance sight of the questions he would be asked on Thursday’s show.
He said he was inviting an “independent” interviewer to ask the questions to ensure he was fully scrutinised and also promised to field callers’ questions on his salary.
“I will be as accountable to all of you as we do every other day with other people,” he said.
The list of top BBC earners revealed that Nolan, who works seven days a week, is paid more than a number of well-known broadcasters and presenters, including Radio Four’s Today presenter Nick Robinson (£250,000 to £299,000), newsreader and Antiques Roadshow presenter Fiona Bruce (£350,000 and £399,000), and the BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg (£200,000 to £249,000).