BBC presenter outside earnings: Huw Edwards tops freelance pay table

BBC stars Huw Edwards and Dan Walker top Q1 2022 table for outside earnings

Huw Edwards, the BBC’s highest-paid journalist, took on four outside jobs in the first three months of 2022, according to the latest data on BBC presenter outside earnings.

Press Gazette’s calculations which are based on the limited data published by the BBC, suggest that outside gigs could have earned the News at Ten presenter a possible £37,500 in the first quarter of the year on top of his at least £425,000 BBC salary.

Edwards made the second-highest number of appearances of the 63 names that appeared on the first quarterly list published in 2022. Only BBC Radio Surrey’s James Cannon made five appearances  – although for significantly less pay.

Among his outside commitments, in March Edwards received more than £10,000 to host an event for Business Matters, a magazine for entrepreneurs. During the same month he undertook three further appearances for each of which he was paid between £5,000 and £10,000. As a result the Welsh journalist would have topped up his March salary by at least £25,000.

BBC Breakfast's Naga Munchetty, another big BBC earner, took on four outside events including for US cable channel Comedy Central.

Her Breakfast co-presenter Dan Walker also took on four engagements. Among his extra gigs he hosted the quarterly reveal of the Best Companies to Work For at Manchester's Media City.

They were among nine high earners who took on outside jobs in the first three months of the year, making a potential £137,000 between them.

Overall, the 63 journalists on this quarter's list (including a majority on non-star salaries) took on 98 outside gigs which may have amounted to a combined £261,500.

In 2021, 23 high-paid journalists undertook more than 90 appearances in total.

As the BBC only provides ranges within which how much each presenter was paid, Press Gazette has extrapolated from the limited given information how much each broadcaster might have made.

For engagements that paid under £1,000 we used a figure of £500, for those paying £1,000 to £5,000 we used £3,000, while for those from £5,000 to £10,000 we base our calculation on a £7,500 payment. For the events that paid upwards of £10,000, we used a fee of £15,000.

The lack of specific data means, however, that our overall totals and those for individual presenters are ballpark estimates.

Since January 2021 the BBC’s on-air presenters in current affairs, sports news and radio and senior leaders have had to declare earnings from paid external work. They have taken on 577 jobs in total since then. Home Editor Easton leads the list for most non-BBC jobs since then having signed up for 18 events in 15 months.

The publication of this register is part of the BBC’s impartiality efforts. Staff cannot take on external work without written approval from a divisional head of department.

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