Tuesday 22 January 2019

Radio 4 boss defends pay at the station in wake of gender pay gap

The comments were dismissed by a leading Radio 4 broadcaster.

By Sherna Noah, Press Association Senior Entertainment Correspondent

The boss of Radio 4 has defended the station in the wake of the BBC’s gender pay gap – saying its presenters “are paid fairly”.

Salaries revealed by the BBC showed Today programme host John Humphrys earning £600,000 to £649,000 for the morning news programme and other work including Mastermind, and PM host Eddie Mair (£300,000-£349,000) among the top-earners.

Today presenter Nick Robinson is on £250,000 to £299,000, ahead of female counterpart Mishal Husain (£200,000 to £249,000), who also presents TV news for the corporation, but their colleague Sarah Montague does not make the £150,000 pay bracket, while Woman’s Hour hosts Dame Jenni Murray and Jane Garvey did not make the list.

John Humphrys earns more than his fellow Today programme presenters

Radio 4 controller Gwyneth Williams told the Press Association that pay at the station was “fair” and that the gender pay gap was a “BBC thing, with news and other issues”.

Her comments were dismissed by a leading Radio 4 broadcaster, who said that the Radio 4 boss appeared “baffled”.

“It’s absolutely right that everybody should be paid equally and fairly,” Williams said.

“We’re very careful on Radio 4 that people are fairly paid. But, you know, the BBC is a big place. Tony (Hall) has said he’s going to do something about it.”

Asked about discussions taking place, she said: “We’re  always involved with my presenters. I love them. I’m really proud of Radio 4. There are brilliant women on Radio 4. There are so many.”

Broadcasting Press Guild Television and Radio Awards – London

Today host Humphrys has previously said that he would “of course” do his job for less money, but asked about the possibility of some Radio 4 male presenters getting pay cuts, Williams replied: “Radio 4 people are paid fairly.

“I can’t talk about individual things but basically on Radio 4 people are paid fairly.

“It’s a big BBC thing, with news and other areas.”

She added: “We’re constantly looking at it is the point and always has been. I’ve been looking at it on Radio 4 since I’ve been there.”

The Women of the Future awards

But a leading Radio 4 broadcaster, who wished to remain unnamed, told the Press Association: “She says Radio 4 people are paid fairly, but two of the best and most prominent broadcasters on Radio 4 – Mishal Husain and Sarah Montague – are not being paid as much as their male colleagues.

“The boss of Radio 4 seems to be baffled about all this, but her job title is controller.”

Williams was speaking at the launch of a new British Museum and Radio 4 landmark series Living With The Gods.

The programme, presented by former British Museum boss Neil MacGregor, will explore the role and expression of shared beliefs in lives and communities through time and around the world.

“I’m thrilled about the series,” Williams said.

“It’s such a thoughtful and inspiring way to consider religion. ”

Asked about the challenge of bringing the objects on the programme to life on radio, she said: “It’s easy. It’s about imagination and the mind and ideas and that’s what we’re really good at on Radio 4.”

A BBC spokesperson said: “The BBC is conducting a review – including for Radio 4 – into the BBC’s approach to on-air presenters, editors and correspondents which will conclude by the end of the year.”

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