The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has, for the first time, published salaries of its highest paid stars, which makes what Kenya’s media personalities earn look like pocket change. [see local salaries below]
The BBC has been compelled to reveal the information, including the pay of 96 of its top stars, under the terms of the new Royal Charter. The list includes all those earning Sh20.3 million (£150,000) per year or more.
It shows Radio 2 presenter, Chris Evans, as the top earner with his pay bracket shown to range between Ksh297.7 million and Ksh305 million (£2,200,000 – £2,249,999) per year, translating to between Ksh24.8 million and Ksh25.4 million per month, which would leave Kenya’s top paid media personalities drooling.
In total, BBC’s wage bill for 96 of its top earners comes to about Ksh4.06 billion (£30 million), which is more than the profits of Nation Media Group and Standard for 2016 combined. Standard Group made net profit Ksh198.5 million, while NMG had Ksh1.98 billion.
Kenya media stars ‘well-paid’
Salary scales of Kenya’s radio and television stars are hard to come by. It should be noted, though that Kenya is a developing nation while Britain is a first world country with highly developed industries and even higher per capita income. The standards of living are also very high compared to Kenya.
However, veteran broadcaster, Jeff Koinange, is rumuored to have negotiated a monthly salary of Sh2 million for the next two years at Citizen TV where he hosts Jeff Koinange Live (JKL) show after falling out with. This makes him the top earner in the country.
At Sh2 million, BBC’s top presenter ‘s one month salary can pay Jeff Koinange for a whole year. The average TV reporter earning Ksh100 per month would take 21 years, yes 21, to make what Chris Evans make in just 30 days. It’s even worse if the reporter is about 40, as he would earn the money until retirement.
Leading radio presenter Maina Kageni of Classic 105 is believed to earn Ksh1.5 million and Ksh2.1 million per month. This, however, excludes bonuses, which run into millions. Fellow presenter Churchill (Daniel Ndambuki) earns between Ksh800,000 and Ksh 1 million.
News anchor Janet Mbugua, also of Citizen TV, is said to be earning Sh1.1 million per month, including allowances.
Former radio presenter Caroline Mutoko used to earn Sh1 million, including commissions, when she used to air the morning show on Kiss 100. The perks are believed to have increased following her promotion to the current job of chief operating officer at Radio Africa.
Kenya’s public broadcaster, KBC, is known to be the least paying station in the country. Mismanagement and a cash flow problems have been cited among what is ailing the station, turning it into a training ground for commercial broadcasters.
“The BBC is alone among the UK’s major broadcasters in releasing details of its on-air and on-screen talent. Talent pay is considerably higher in the commercial sector,” said the BBC having warned the stars the previous day to expect a backlash.
However, Evans said it was right “on balance” that star salaries were being disclosed. “We are the ultimate public company I think, and therefore it’s probably right and proper people know what we get paid,” he told reporters as he left his morning show.
During a briefing on the annual report on Wednesday morning, BBC director general Lord Hall said: “Chris Evans is presenting the most popular show on the most popular radio network in Europe.”
“The BBC does not exist in a market on its own where it can set the market rates. If we are to give the public what they want, then we have to pay for those great presenters and stars.”