How John Richards’ Salary Compares
Since there’s been so much Slog and Forums discussion about the annual income of KEXP morning DJ John Richards (see comments here, here, and here), I thought it might be helpful to offer a point of comparison.
The debate over Richards’ $90,000/yr salary is, on one level, about whether his salary is excessive. And, as you’ll see from reading the comments linked above, one school of thought holds that it’s not excessive at all, given the salaries pulled down by other prominent radio personalities. Well, what exactly do other prominent radio personalities make?
I just got off the phone with Cheryl Kitchin, director of finance for the local NPR affiliate KUOW, who tells me that salaries for KUOW’s hosts—people like Steve Scher (Weekday), Ross Reynolds (The Conversation), and Megan Sukys and Dave Beck (The Beat)—range from $35,000/yr to $60,000/yr, with the average being about $41,500/yr.
That’s a lot less than John Richards makes. But the next question is whether this is a fair comparison. John Richards isn’t a talk show host like the people listed above. He’s a DJ. And while KEXP is like KUOW in that it asks listeners to pledge money to keep the station running, its finances are ultimately very different than those of an NPR affiliate.
To be honest, I’ve been struggling with the question of who to compare John Richards to, and I wonder if the Slog readers who have been commenting on this story have any suggestions. (I have a call in to Nic Harcourt at KCRW in Los Angeles, who hosts the morning music show “Morning Becomes Ecclectic.” It seems to me that he might be a better comparison, since KEXP is a lot more like KCRW than it is like KUOW, and John Richards is a lot more like Nic Harcourt than he is like Steve Scher. When I figure out what Nic Harcourt makes, I’ll let you know.)
But in the meantime, got any other suggestions for comparisons? Please post them in the comments…