The Sunday Telegraph’s report at the weekend that BBC football pundit Alan Hansen is being paid £1.5m a year has provided a PR own-goal for the corporation at a time when its “Delivering Quality First” reforms are set to mean the loss of 2,000 jobs.
Some 650 jobs in news are set to go from the corporation – with the axe falling in vital areas like investigative journalism (Inside Out, 5Live Investigates), regional TV and radio coverage and political coverage (Beyond Westminster).
It does seem strange that the likes of BBC head of news Helen Boaden can travel the country telling journalists that these reforms are about “Delivering Quality First” when star names are on such inflated salaries.
If Hansen is on £1.5m it seems a fair guess that the star of the BBC’s football coverage – Gary Lineker – could be on double that, say £3m.
Assuming a salary for journalists (with national insurance and pensions costs) of £40,000, cutting Lineker and Hansen would save 112 jobs. There must be dozens of talented sports journalists who could do what Lineker and Hansen do for a fraction of the cost.
And it would probably be worth Lineker’s while to work at the BBC for nothing to keep his profile high in order for him to still make a fortune selling fatty snacks to children.