NPR – Now starring the “1%”

Would anyone else be [a little] surprised (as we were) to learn that National Public Radio  hosts earn over $300,000?  (h/t JimRomenesko.) For example:

  • Robert Siegel (host, All Things Considered) — $341,992
  • Renee Montagne (host, Morning Edition) — $328,309
  • Steve Inskeep (host, Morning Edition) -– $320,950
  • Scott Simon (host, Weekend Edition) — $311,958

It’s modest compared to television network pay scale (Katie Couric — 30 times higher at $15,000,000/yr; Brian Williams at $12,500,000). But still, we were [a little] surprised.

These NPR hosts are at nudging into the “1%”. To be in the top 1% you need an income of $344,000 per year. (That’s the most recent number. It varies each year, significantly, with the stock market.) If these NPR folks have additional sources of income — and they almost certainly do: investments, speeking, spouses — then they’re likely enjoying a half million dollars per year, or more.

Does it mean the NPR hosts are in some way influenced by their wealth and success? Well, if they aren’t, they would be among the few to none. Money does inevitably change us — both having not enough and having a lot — it affects where we live, who we know, where we go, how we see the world and how the world sees us.

NPR top salaries are just another data point. At the national level, almost all of our elected representatives belong to the 1%, and almost all of their campaign contributions come from the 1%, and then it’s all interpreted for us by journalists of the 1%.