Thursday, 20 July 2017

Best job in the world


John Reith (1889-1971) was the founder of the BBC. He was its first general manager when it was set up as the British Broadcasting Company in 1922; and he was its first director general when it became a public corporation in 1927. He created both the templates for public service broadcasting in Britain; and for the arms-length public corporations that were to follow, especially after World War Two. Reith fought off the politicians' attempts to influence the BBC, while offering the British people programmes to educate, inform and entertain.

The recent BBC pay issue has been interesting on a number of counts, but surprise is not one of them. We have always known about celebrities attracting huge salaries, yet even though the information provided by the BBC is far from complete we are not talking about vast sums when compared to corporation's overall income.

Two aspects do stand out though. Firstly the distribution of the lucre seems oddly haphazard. One might expect to see talent rewarded in a fairly systematic manner, but that does not seem to be how it is actually done.

For example, it is not at all obvious why Gary Lineker earns between £1,750,000 and 1,799,999. Personable football pundits are not rarities. Somebody deep in the bowels of the BBC will have a justification, but it probably seems haphazard because it is. Similarly we learn that talking heads may earn £500,000 or more doing a job any competent actor could do and would probably enjoy doing at least as well for far less. 

Secondly we note how the BBC makes no attempt to apply its aggressively egalitarian public ethos to its own internal affairs. That is no surprise either. The BBC has adopted the ethos of the entertainment industry even though it need do no such thing. As a dominant UK player with much to offer in terms of security and satisfaction it could have been a very different organisation with a less hypocritical ethos. For example.

BBC Radio 5 live Breakfast's Rachel Burden, who co-presents with Nicky Campbell (who's in the £400,000 - 449,999 bracket), was under no obligation to reveal her salary as it falls below the £150,000 threshold.

But she tweeted: "Whilst we're in the transparency game, and for those asking, I fall in the middle of the 100-150k category.

"This is a huge amount of money for a job I love doing five days a week, and I know what a privilege it is to be able to say that.

"Also worth saying we have a brilliant team of journalists on far, far less than that who we totally rely on and I'm so grateful to them."

Political correspondent Chris Mason added: "Good on Rachel for volunteering this. I'll do same: I earn £60,000 as a Political Correspondent. Best job in world."

BBC Radio 4 Money Box host Paul Lewis also disclosed his earnings, saying: "Many of us are now doing this. Excellent. As I said some hours ago in 2016/17 I got £67,413 total BBC fees."

"Best job in the world," says Political Correspondent Chris Mason. It probably is for those on the inside.


wiggiatlarge said...

As you say all this was known previously to a large degree, it is the disparity that is suprising, the BBC would say it is market forces that decides these figures, but that is difficult to believe in many cases.
The two, apart from the obvious high earners, who stood out were Alan Shearer 500k for giving boring wrong predictions as a pundit and Derek Thompson aka Charlie in Casualty a program with viewing figures permanently on the down.
Charlie apparently gets all this money for staring into space looking puzzled every ten seconds, a sort of method acting without much need of a method.
Oh and Claudia Winkelman, plucked out of nowhere to jointly front Strictly, the robotic fringe has yet to show any reason for being plucked from anywhere.

A K Haart said...

Wiggia - yes, Alan Shearer on 500k stands out for me. Surely there are better pundits. I don't see market forces but a network of cliques.

Demetrius said...

Um. Five days a week? If only......

Graeme said...

Shearer does seem to be paid a remarkable sum of money when you consider that he is used as a pundit on international matches where he freely confesses to knowing nothing about any player who has not played in the Premier League. I could do the same for much less pay

A K Haart said...

Demetrius - not quite 24/7 coverage is it?

Graeme - and Shearer doesn't even have an appealing TV personality.