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Lack of appreciation and pay behind presenter’s decision to leave BBC Radio Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 15:54 16 May 2018 | UPDATED: 12:15 17 May 2018

Paul Barnes. 
Photo: Bill Smith

Paul Barnes. Photo: Bill Smith

Archant © 2009

Veteran radio presenter Paul Barnes says a lack of appreciation and “derisory” payment was behind his decision to leave the BBC.

Paul Barnes. Photo: Bill SmithPaul Barnes. Photo: Bill Smith

The 78-year-old, who lives in Norwich, has hosted The Late Paul Barnes Show every Saturday on BBC Radio Norfolk for the past nine years.

But on Tuesday, May 8, he handed in his resignation letter - bringing an end to 49 years of broadcasting.

Mr Barnes said his decision was partly influenced by reading about the large amounts of money paid to individuals elsewhere within the organisation.

He said his payment of £159.50 for his two-hour jazz show had not increased in five years.

“I was not just presenting the programme, I was delivering the programme in its entirety,” Mr Barnes said.

“And I feel the financial reward was not enough.

“People might say ‘why carry on’, but I carried on for the sake of the music, because I felt the music needed to be broadcast.”

Mr Barnes said he would spend up to three days preparing for his 11pm to 1am show by selecting music from his own personal collection.

But he claimed he was shown very little appreciation for his efforts from the BBC.

“The only time I heard from them was if something went wrong,” Mr Barnes said. “They never say anything about the things that go right.”

Mr Barnes, who lives in the Golden Triangle, said that an increase in paperwork was also a factor in him leaving.

“I’m not paid enough to present the programme, let alone do the paperwork,” he said. “I thought ‘sod it, I can do without this at my age’.”

His show, which was aired live once-a-week, is now being covered by Anna Perrott.

A BBC spokesman said: “Paul has been a part of BBC Radio Norfolk for 22 years, we’re sorry to see him go and wish him well.”

Mr Barnes, who always signed off with “pip,pip”, has broadcast on BBC Radio 1, 2, 3, and four, as well as BBC World Service.

He said the benefit of having a late-night show was the lack of interruption from traffic reports or sport events.

“It was just me, and the night and the music,” he said.

Mr Barnes, who was crowned jazz broadcaster of the year in 2011, said he will now turn his focus to writing.

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