John Humphrys says he would “like to think” he has given the BBC “reasonable value for money over the years”. The broadcaster volunteered to slash his salary, which has been cut from £600,000 to £650,000 to around £250,000 to £300,000, saying the BBC is now in a different position financially to its past.
Asked if his pay packet should reflect the fact that he had been on Radio 4 show Today for so long, he told the Press Association: “That is for others to judge. “Yes I’ve done a lot of things. I’ve been a foreign correspondent. I’ve put my life at risk. Didn’t see my children growing up partly because I was away much of the time.”
He added: “Yes, I’ve done a lot of different things for the BBC and I would like to think I’ve given them reasonable value for money over the years. “I’ve never been one of those who have bashed the door down to ask for more money. I’ve never used an agent to go and get more money for me. It’s not for me. They have been very generous.”
Asked if there was a possibility of even more reductions, Humphrys said: “Let’s cross that bridge when we come to it.” He added: “This will sound weird to people who aren’t earning the sort of money that we earn but you almost take it for granted.
“Well, it shouldn’t be taken for granted. You realise you are working with people on the programme, producers, who are earning a fraction of what you are earning and working all bloody night. (It’s a) very tight ship. There is no money to spare. We’re always being asked to cut back.”
Humphrys, who was preparing for a meeting of the Kitchen Table Charities Trust, raising money for small charities, mostly in Sub-Saharan Africa, dismissed any suggestion that his reduction leaves him open to being poached by rivals.
“I have had offers”, he said, but added: “If you cut me in half you’d see BBC running through me like a stick of rock.”