‘Biggest show’ host remains one of BBC’s top UK earners

BBC broadcaster Stephen Nolan was paid a salary of more than £405,000 last year, the corporation has revealed.

By Mark Rainey
Tuesday, 6th July 2021, 6:55 pm
Stephen Nolan
Stephen Nolan

The Belfast journalist remains among the BBC’s top earning on-air presenters across the UK – on a par with Question Time presenter Fiona Bruce.

That compares to between £390,000 and £394,999 paid to him in 2019-20, which was up from about £325,000 in 2018-19.

The pay figures released by the BBC do not include payments for other programmes made by independent production companies, and Mr Nolan’s quoted salary is for presenting the Nolan Show on BBC Radio Ulster, The Stephen Nolan Show on BBC Radio 5 Live and Nolan Live on BBC One Northern Ireland. However, his published salary may vary each year depending on when he is actually paid by the BBC for programmes he has presented.

On this occasion, the presenter was paid around £15,000 owed from the previous financial year, as opposed to reflecting a pay rise.

A BBCNI spokesperson said: “Stephen’s salary reflects his income across many projects including his network programmes BBC Radio 5 Live, his daily BBC Radio Ulster shows and live television work.

“His published pay may vary each year, depending on when payments for work completed are actually made.

“The difference is a payment for a series of Nolan Live broadcast in March 2020 owed from the previous financial year.”

Mr Nolan’s salary for 2020/21 salary makes him the equal-fifth best paid BBC on-air star.

The report also reveals that the salary of BBC Northern Ireland director Peter Johnston remained the same as in 2019-20.

In the financial year 2020-2021 he earned between £195,000 and £199,999.

Mr Johnston had previously been awarded pay rises of around £20,000 a year in the two year prior to 2019-20.

The annual report also estimates that the BBC accrued £99m in licence fee income from the NI public in 2020-21.

This figure is up from £93m in 2019-20.

The corporation also spent £50m of that income on dedicated Northern Ireland content across TV, radio and online.

However, the proportion of the BBC’s network television budget spent in Northern Ireland fell dramatically last year.

In 2019, 3.5% of the BBC network television budget was spent in NI but that fell to just 1.7% in 2020.

Other information in report shows that BBC audiences across the UK remain strong.

In Northern Ireland around nine in 10 adults (88%) on average used BBC TV/player, radio or online each week, while 53% of adults viewed BBC Newsline each week, on average, in 2020-2021 compared to just under half (48%) in 2019-2020.