Naga Munchetty is to become one of the BBC’s highest-paid women after landing her own show on Radio 5 Live.
Munchetty will succeed Emma Barnett as presenter of 5 Live’s mid-morning slot from January, when Barnett moves to Woman’s Hour on Radio 4.
She will host the show from Monday-Wednesday and continue with her Thursday-Saturday job on BBC Breakfast.
Last year she earned £195,000-199,999 for her role as a breakfast presenter, and her forthcoming pay rise will see her salary rise to over £250,000 per year.
She is expected to break into the top 10 of female earners, and would become the only woman of colour in that list as the BBC strives to address diversity.
Munchetty guest presented the Emma Barnett show over the summer. She said “I’m absolutely thrilled to be joining the 5 Live team. I have always wanted to work more in radio and after such an enjoyable experience presenting on the station recently, I jumped at this opportunity.
“5 Live has one of the most passionate, engaged audiences in radio. The prospect of talking to those listeners every week really excites me. I can’t wait to get stuck into the role from January.”
A presenter on BBC Breakfast from 2009, Munchetty has been building her profile since appearing as a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing in 2016.
Her new show will include regular political interviews, and Munchetty’s interviewing style has drawn criticism. Harvey Proctor, the former Conservative MP falsely accused of involvement in a VIP paedophile ring, walked off BBC Breakfast, telling Munchetty: “I respect your work but you must not invite people onto your programme and then not allow them to speak.”
She was at the centre of controversy last year after making comments about Donald Trump and racism. The US president had tweeted that four US congresswomen of colour should go back to “the crime-infested places from which they came”.
The following day, Munchetty said that “every time I have been told, as a woman of colour, to go back to where I came from, that was embedded in racism.” She added that she felt absolutely furious that a man in that position feels it’s ok to skirt the lines with using language like that”.
The BBC’s editorial complaints unit initially ruled that Munchetty had breached impartiality guidelines. There was an outcry, and the BBC’s then director-general, Lord Hall of Birkenhead, intervened to give Munchetty his backing.
“Naga Munchetty – one of our stars – was completely within her rights to speak about the tweets of Donald Trump which have been widely condemned as racist,” Lord Hall said. “She was speaking honestly and from the heart about her own experiences. We admire her for it and she was completely justified in doing so.”
Announcing Munchetty’s new role yesterday, Heidi Dawson, controller of 5 Live, said: “Naga is a brilliant broadcaster and a fearless journalist, making her the perfect fit for our mid-morning programme.
“She impressed us while working briefly at the station in the summer, when our listeners loved her warmth, wit and straight-talking interview style. I’m sure she will make the mid-morning programme a must-listen.
“I can’t wait to hear her interviewing the biggest names in news and telling stories from around the UK that you won’t hear anywhere else.”