Calls Mount For Bbc To Disclose Salaries Of Its Stars
The BBC, which is funded by license fees collected from all TV set owners in Britain -- regardless of whether they watch anything on the BBC or not -- is coming under greater pressure to become more transparent about how its funds are being spent. On Sunday, Terry Wogan, a top BBC radio personality, told the London Sunday Mail newspaper that salaries of some of his colleagues are "far too high." He proposed a 10-15 percent cut. He argued that some BBC stars considered themselves to be in a privileged position. "If they're going to start cutting working people's wages, you can't say you're in a privileged position because you work in television." Late last week, BBC Trust chairman Michael Lyons said that he also favors making the salaries of its stars public. However, late Sunday BBC Director General Mark Thompson said that revealing individual wages of stars would be wrong. He offered a kind of compromise instead -- listing a number of pay "bands" and the names of celebrities who are included in each of them. In a BBC radio interview, he concluded, "The BBC is trying to find the right balance, on the one hand, the public's absolute right to have a sense of what the BBC spends on on-air talent, versus a broadcasting industry where confidentiality is the absolute norm, is the expectation and in some cases the contractual right of the individuals involved." The salary issue arose last year when it was revealed that BBC talk-show host Jonathan Ross had signed a three-year contract in 2006 for $27 million.