Sunday, July 23, 2017

Unpredictable ?

I think if I were BBC chairman Sir David Clementi, I'd be pretty unhappy with the risk antennae of senior management at the BBC.

This blog, and other places, have noted plenty of executive salary adjustments in the past 10 months. Yet, with the knowledge that publication of talent salaries was inevitable from last September, not enough was done. And a promise to sort it by 2020 hasn't helped.  

The big problems are in News and Radio, with some smaller issues in Sport. Presenters can have careers there - and expect that somebody in charge occasionally scans across contracts to see fair play. (In Content, careers can be short or shorter, and people get less upset about big earners when they are reminded of Simon Dee, Tom O'Connor, Little and Large, Dick and Dom etc, etc)

So a conference call looks to be high on Monday's management agenda. Participants:Valerie Hughes D'Aeth (this won't look good on the cv of an HR thought-leader and founder member of the Guild of HR Professionals), James Harding of News, James Purnell, of Radio & Education; Bob Shennan, who tells James how radio works; Gwyneth Williams, Controller of R4, manager of Jane Garvey and Jenni Murray; Barbara Slater, Sport; and Jonathan Wall, Controller of Radio 5Live.

Formulating a response to the letter from 40 Grumpy Women could be a test-paper for years to come at business colleges around the globe. All solutions are inflationary and a hostage-to-fortune. Lord Hall's usual response - to play for time - has been pre-empted. I can't wait.

Dear Tony

Here are the forty names appended to the open letter to the DG, promising to help him sort out unequal pay by gender NOW.

Aasmah Mir, R4 Saturday Live, previously 5Live Drive #notonthelist
Katya Adler, Europe Editor for News #notonthelist when part-time World Affairs Editor John Simpson is on £150k+
Anita Anand, formerly with 5Live and The Daily Politics, now R4's Any Answers #notonthelist
Wendy Austin, doyenne of BBC radio and tv in Northern Ireland, leading phone-in host with Talkback #notonthelist and probably amazed at Stephen Nolan's deal
Samira Ahmed, formerly with C4 News, now of Front Row and Newswatch #notonthelist
Clare Balding, flat race jockey turned sports presenter with 5Live, and now uber-sports presenter and radio host £150k+
Emma Barnett, presents 3 days a week on 5Live and #notonthelist, when Adrian Chiles does two days for £150k+
Zeinab Badawi, co-presented C4 News before joining the BBC; does Hardtalk and specials for BBC World News #notonthelist
Sue Barker, BBC Wimbledon £300k+
Rachel Burden, 5Live Breakfast and some weekend tv shifts, #notonthelist
Annabel Croft, tennis-player turned pundit #notonthelist
Martine Croxall, late evening hostess of newspaper reviews on BBC News Channel, NUJ stalwart, #notonthelist
Victoria Derbyshire, formerly of BBC Manchester and 5Live, now with eponymous morning show, £200k+
Lyse Doucet, much-garlanded BBC Chief International News Correspondent #notonthelist
Jane Garvey, who started at 5Live at the same time as Eddie Mair and Adrian Chiles #notonthelist
Joanna Gosling, former ITV presenter now with BBC News Channel #notonthelist
Fi Glover, GLR, Five Live and R4 Listening Project, co-presenter of Fortunately podcast with Jane Garvey #notonthelist
Carrie Gracie, persuaded by James Harding to be BBC China Editor, #notonthelist when BBC Norther America Editor Jon Sopel is on £200k+
Orla Guerin, relentlessly upbeat frontline Middle East correspondent #notonthelist
Karin Giannone, South African-born BBC World News presenter #notonthelist
Mishael Husain Today and BBC News bulletins £200k+
Lucy Hockings, New Zealand-born presenter for BBC World News #notonthelist
Geeta Guru-murthy, Krishnan's older sister, BBC World presenter #notonthelist
Kirsty Lang, R4 Front Row #notonthelist
Gabby Logan, sports presenter £200k+
Martha Kearney, presents The World At One for at least £50k less than Eddie Mair gets for PM
Carolyn Quinn, R4 all-rounder #notonthelist
Kasia Madera, BBC World News presenter #notonthelist
Katty Kay, co-hostess of BBC News 100 Days based in Washington #notonthelist
Emily Maitlis, reportedly out of contract at Newsnight #notonthelist
Louise Minchin, BBC Breakfast lead #notonthelist
Sarah Montague, the only Today presenter #notonthelist
Jenni Murray, the other Women's House presenter #notonthelist
Annita McVeigh, daytime BBC News Channel presenter #notonthelist
Elaine Paige, Radio 2 weekend presenter #notonthelist
Sally Nugent, BBC Breakfast sport presenter #notonthelist
Angela Rippon, daytime tv presenter #notonthelist
Ritula Shah, main presenter R4 The World Tonight #notonthelist
Sarah Smith, BBC Scotland editor #notonthelist
Kate Silverton, weekend BBC News presenter #notonthelist
Charlotte Smith, Farming Today and Countryfile #notonthelist
Kirsty Wark, Newsnight £150k+
Fiona Bruce, Antiques Road Show, Fake or Fortune, Hive Minds and BBC News £350k+
Alex Jones, The One Show £400k+

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Trend bucker

BBC America, home of Star Trek and The Patriot, is doing well, according to the BBC Worldwide Annual Review.

"Cable channel BBC AMERICA continued to buck the trend in the domestic cable market with its 12th straight year of total viewer ratings growth into the 6pm-2am time slot". 

Anyone care to tell us from what to what ?


Janet Street-Porter in The Independent 

"Having spent many years as a BBC executive dealing with contracts in front of and behind the camera, I know that pay is largely governed by how loud the talent or their agent screams and complains. It’s an executive’s job to whittle away at expectations, because there’s only one pot of cash in a programme budget, and any overspend will have to come from elsewhere. Truthfully, it’s no different to employing people anywhere, no matter what old bilge you hear about “connecting with the public” and “value for money”.

"The BBC women who are now complaining they are underpaid have my sympathies, but maybe their agents were ineffectual or they didn’t have the guts to threaten to leave. The reason why some BBC radio and television presenters are paid so much is often because their contracts go back decades, and will have included built-in rises every year as well as pension perks. Shedding these long-running deals can be gruesomely expensive."

Many insiders will have been amused by various interviews given by James Purnell, in which he started there was a process for determining talent salaries, which involves many different analyses, the paramount being 'value to the audience'. Perhaps someone can produce the paperwork which moved Steve Wright from £440k in 2006 to £500k+ in 2016/17 ? And Chris Evans from £540k in 2006 to £2.2m+ in 2016/17 ?

Friday, July 21, 2017


Probably still not a good day for signs and symbols of conspicuous consumption and status at the BBC - so this little number was parked round the back....

Done with Elan

Elan Closs Stephens, 69, has been re-invented as guardian of BBC interests in Wales, after the kerfuffle over Dr Carol Bell, selected and nominated for the job initially but turned down by the Welsh Minister Alun Davies.

Elan (Ysgol Dyffryn Nantlle and English Literature and Language, Somerville College, Oxford - and the first woman President of Dafydd ap Gwilym Society Oxford University) was previously a member of the BBC Trust. Indeed she was such a trustie that she sat alongside Sir David Clementi as he selected the new bunch of non-executives for the unitary Board - including unfortunate Carol. At least Elan won't have to introduce herself to her new chums.


It cost BBC Worldwide £12.5m to close down the download-to-own failure, BBC Store.


As the BBC fails to put out fires still burning around how they decide someone's value, and heads to a new pay structure with humongous, deliberately-impenetrable salary bands with increased management discretion, and the country's general sense of haves and have-nots grows, it's entertaining to see a little light lunch for two laid out at Broadcasting House.

BBC canteen prices have just gone up 4%.

Thursday, July 20, 2017


There's a day or two still in this one.

Below, Charlie Stayt #notonthelist and Naga Munchetty #probably only on the list cos she did Strictly, discuss the salaries of Dan Walker #on the list partially because of Football Focus and Louise Minchin #notonthelist

Radio 2 ain't cheap, is it ?  But is Vanessa really worth more than Ken Bruce because she does a Radio London phone-in ?  Are these salaries the cumulative decisions of James Purnell, Director of Radio & Education - £295k; Bob Shennan, Director of Radio & Music - £291k; his deputy Graham Ellis £212k; or Lewis Carnie, Head of Radio 2 - #notonthelist ?

We finally discover that Jonty Claypole, Director of Arts (the whole lot) is on £150k+, yet Alan Yentob, who edits one arts strand, and has made just two new films this calendar year, is on £200k+.

Over at 5Live, there'll be tensions because Breakfast's Rachel Burden is #notonthelist, yet weekend late host Stephen Nolan, who also does local tv and radio in Northern Ireland, is apparently worth more than £400k to BBC audiences.

The BBC knew these lists were coming - Karen Bradley insisted on them publicly in mid-September last year. Since then, there've been some adjustments - but not enough.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Secret agents

The BBC presenter stuff is fun, isn't it ? This morning Lord Grade, a former BBC exec and chairman, and an agent, said the revelations were wrong. Today we learn his sister, agent Anita Land, has done rather well for two of her clients. Eddie Mair, on £300k+, for a portfolio that includes, er, PM. Nicky Campbell, with 5Live Breakfast and The Big Questions, is on £400k + (which won't include ITV's Long Lost Families.)

Doing even better is Alex Armitage of Noel Gay, representing Jeremy Vine, who, through Egg Heads, Radio 2, Points of View and election-arm-waving, takes home £700k+. Is he really worth more than John Humphrys, Today and Mastermind, on £600k+ ? Could not Alex do better for clients Emily Maitlis and Sarah Montague, neither of whom break the £150k barrier ?

Over at Avalon Management, Fiona Bruce, watched by millions on the Antiques Roadshow, Fake or Fortune and the 10'Clock News, is on £350k+. Yet Vanessa Feltz is in the same band (achieved with ASM, who also represent Nick Ferrari, Nadine Dorries and Sally Bercow).

Many will think Sam Gregory, at new-ish agency Big Red Talent, has over-achieved in getting £250k+ for shouty sports presenter Jason Mohammad. That's better than the £200k+ that James Grant has fixed for Gabby Logan, and the surprisingly-low £150k+ for Clare Balding, with the same agent.

World Affairs Editor John Simpson, with Kruger Cowne (in which he has a family interest) is on £150k+ - colleagues would give their eye teeth to know the full-time equivalent rate.

Andrew Neil, on £200k+, looks low, but then the figure might not include the free Blue Nun and presentation fee for This Week, produced by News' favourite indie, Juniper.

Personally, I think Radio 2 could make a useful saving on Steve Wright - really worth £500k + ?

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