Belfast Telegraph

Stephen Nolan insists he's 'not hiding behind BBC' over extent of pay

Stephen Nolan has said he would support the BBC publishing what it pays his production company as he faced down accusations of "hiding" his additional corporation earnings.

The BBC broadcaster earns between £400,000 and £449,000 as an individual, but the corporation also pays his company - Third Street Studios, of which he is the sole shareholder - for other shows he has created.

During a showdown on his morning radio show yesterday, which saw Stormont inquisitor and TUV leader Jim Allister assume the role of interviewer, Nolan was repeatedly asked to disclose the total amount he receives from licence fee-payers.

He insisted the information regarding his production company was commercially sensitive and it would be the BBC's decision to make it public.

But Nolan, who presents seven days a week across Radio 5 Live, Radio Ulster and BBC One Northern Ireland, said he would not oppose the information being made public as long as details of what the corporation paid other production companies were also disclosed.

He said: "I am so not hiding behind the BBC that I am publicly saying to the BBC today that if they wish to publish any of the information you have asked me for, I will support them doing so - it is a management decision."

Earlier he stated: "I will put up no opposition to them publishing that information and what would be fair then would be for the BBC to decide to publish the amounts that they give to every independent production company in Northern Ireland."

Mr Allister claimed his stance was in contrast to his reputation as a "champion of transparency".

"You don't want your listeners to know how much you are really benefiting from the BBC yet you are the champion of transparency, you are the presenter and journalist who grills much more lowly paid people than yourself on all of these matters.

"When you come to be asked the questions - how much of the money is coming from the BBC - you hide behind the BBC."

Nolan said he was an "entrepreneur" who had set up a company trying to create new television ideas.

"Do you judge me badly by being a guy without a silver spoon in my mouth who is trying round the clock to build a business - that's what I am doing," he said to Mr Allister.

The MLA replied: "I think entrepreneurs are much needed in this society but when you have somebody who makes himself a champion of transparency and is in receipt of public funds through BBC licence fee-payers, then I think those licence fee- payers are entitled to know how much of their money is finding its way into the pockets of Stephen Nolan."

Nolan told the politician that he was unable to reveal the details. Mr Allister said he was "disappointed" with the broadcaster's responses.

The list of top BBC earners revealed that Nolan is paid more than a number of well-known broadcasters.

These include presenter Nick Robinson (£250,000-£299,000) and Antiques Roadshow presenter Fiona Bruce (£350,000-£399,000).

by STAFF REPORTER

Belfast Telegraph

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