Radio 1 boss sticks with Chris Moyles after pay rant

Radio 1 controller Andy Parfitt today backed his Breakfast Show presenter following a half-hour on-air rant about pay - but admitted: "It wasn't the best Chris Moyles programme I've ever heard."

Parfitt, who has been in charge of the station for 12 years, said in his view the presenter had "not crossed the line".

And he said regular listeners accepted it was part of the show for him to "go off on one".

Moyles, one of the BBC's highest earners, drew criticism last week for devoting a section of his Wednesday show to talking at length about how he had not been paid.

Parfitt said he had discussed the broadcast - but "top of the list" of issues was ensuring he was properly paid.

The controller was speaking today for the first time about the incident and praised Moyles as one of the station's most talented presenters.

He said of his response to the incident: "I ask myself the question have you overstepped the red lines I have about the programme and the content of that show, and my judgment was that he hadn't overstepped those red lines.

"My response was to make sure I had a detailed conversation with him and to resolve the matter that was at hand, that he hadn't been paid and that for me was the end of it."

During his rant, Moyles hit out at BBC bosses, accusing them of "a huge lack of respect" for failing to pay his wages.

He said he was "very, very angry" about the situation and asked "why should I come in?".

As listeners texted in about his diatribe, he began criticising them, telling one: "If you really have a problem with that, I'm telling you now I'll pay your licence fee and you can switch off and listen to someone else. Go and read the Daily Mail, you miserable fart."

Parfitt said today: "He is a very gifted broadcaster. Occasionally, and it is only occasionally, he steps over a line that I have.

"And when he does that I'm absolutely there to make it absolutely clear to him where those lines are. It's kind of part of the nature of what he does, living his life in one sense out on air. He's almost bound to push at those barriers on occasion.

"You have to have broad shoulders and not take things too seriously and it won't be the first or the last time that a BBC presenter talks about the BBC so my feelings were, I kind of made a judgment, did it overstep a line that I have for Chris? And I judged that it didn't.

"It was a lively programme - it wasn't the best Chris Moyles programme I've ever heard," he added.

Following the programme he said he and Moyles had a conversation "about a full range of issues and top of the list was to ensure the guy had got paid for the work he had done since July".

Parfitt said the show was a "soap opera" which 7.5 million listeners loved and that the the subject matter was not "editorially beyond the realms".