Many of the BBC salaries revealed yesterday seem fair

News Letter editorial
News Letter editorial

The BBC has revealed the list of its best paid stars – those who earn more than £150,000 a year.

The list has some surprises, including the fact that Stephen Nolan is not only the best paid person in BBC NI, but one of the best paid across the UK. He is earning in the region of £400,000 to £450,000 a year.

Many people will be outraged at such a large sum of money going to a controversial broadcaster. But plenty of other people will think that he is worth it.

Mr Nolan maddens listeners and viewers as much as he delights them, but the simple fact is that he has transformed that mid morning Radio Ulster slot and made it one of the most popular shows in the history of the station.

He has also got a TV show that pulls in large audiences, and he flies back and forth to England for his Radio 5 Live show too.

Mr Nolan is such a colourful personality that when he is off his radio show loses some of its edge.

The BBC will always have to pay its most successful presenters decent amounts of money if it is not going to lose them to rival channels. The national broadcaster should not be a forum in which large numbers of people enrich themselves, but nor should it become a cut price operation.

Some of the sums of money revealed yesterday do not seem unreasonable.

Laura Kuenssberg, the punchy BBC political editor, whose style annoys some viewers but whose energy and capacity to break stories is undeniable, earns between £200,000 and £250,000 a year. At the lower end of that spectrum she is earning not much different to what a high court judge earns in the UK, of which there are hundreds. The BBC’s leading political journalist should be at that level.

The highly experienced journalist and broadcaster Andrew Neil is reported to be earning the same at the BBC as Ms Kuenssberg, and again it seems fair pay.