Belfast Telegraph

BBC Pay: Nolan challenges Evening Extra presenter to reveal earnings during questioning on his headline making salary

By Claire Williamson

BBC presenter Stephen Nolan challenged Radio Ulster's Evening Extra presenter to reveal his earnings as he was questioned about his headline making salary.

The figures released by the BBC revealed that Stephen Nolan makes more than £400,000, while Radio 2's Chris Evans is the top earner pulling in more than £2 million. Mr Nolan is the highest paid on air talent earner within the regional organisation, and joint 9th highest paid overall.

Speaking on Evening Extra Nolan, after facing a number of interviews with BBC colleagues, he said he was "not born with a silver spoon in my mouth" and said he was trying to "earn as much money as I can".

He was then asked by host Seamus McKee whether he would be in a position to challenge a teacher or another public servant who is demanding a pay rise, he said "they can say what gives you the right when you are on half a million a year - does that undermine your position?"

In response Nolan said: "I think they can turn around to you Seamus and say what gives you the right to question them because you are also probably earning more than them, as are other BBC presenters. That's a rather silly point with respect."

To which Mr McKee responded: "It's not because they have seen the money that people like you are earning."

Nolan added: "Well if we are talking about undermining teachers - how much do you earn?"

To which Mr McKee responded: "That's neither here nor there today."

In response Nolan said: "You are talking about your ability and mine to do an interivew.  So how much do you earn so we can see if you have the ability to do the same interview? Tell the public Seamus - tell them."

Mr McKee said: "Your circumstances today are different in that you have now become the story, which you will agree, is something a presenter should never try to do."

Nolan added: "I'm very content that now the BBC has decided to publish the salaries and you know in the BBC that it is for them to decide that not me, I'm saying no opposition. I could be saying I don't want to talk to you, I'm happy to talk to you. I don't know what other way to put it I'm not putting a value on me."

"The BBC is the most prestigious brand, I believe in the world, I care about it passionately. They give you support in terms of the production team like no other and am very proud to work for it and think it's an incredible organisation."

Nolan was then asked if he would accept a cut in salary if BBC bosses decided to do so in order to address the gender pay divide, to which he said it "depends what your current situation is".

He said: "It depends what's on offer. It depends what your current situation is and depends on the type of programme you are doing, it depends on your situation.

"That's what negotiation is. What are your alternatives, what are your life circumstances at the time."

Mr Nolan will be independently interviewed on his own morning show about the figures on Thursday.

When asked what question he would ask himself he said he had "no idea" adding "I rarely think of a question until I'm doing it."

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