The future of Alan Jones and 2GB has media speculating
For the past 18 years, Alan Jones has been a dominant force in Sydney radio and has consistently set the daily news agenda.
However, over the past 12-months, he’s begun to attract more negative press that could have an impact on contract negotiations.
2GB took a financial hit after the wealthy Wagner family successfully sued Jones and the broadcaster for defamation for comments made about the Lockyer Valley floods of 2011.
There was also his controversial interview with Sydney Opera House boss Louise Herron that saw him deliver an on-air apology after being accused of misogyny and bullying.
His health has also been an issue with the 77-year-old off-air for extended periods over the past couple of years. Last November, he spent time in hospital for serious back pain.
It sets the scene for an interesting round of contract negotiations between the veteran broadcaster and his bosses at 2GB and Macquarie Media.
With five months left to run on his current deal, those discussions are now underway, which Macquarie chief executive Adam Lang has told the media isn’t that unusual.
2GB may be tempted to play hardball, but it can’t be denied that Jones remains a moneymaker and continues to attract a big audience, winning the breakfast timeslot for more than 100 radio surveys consecutively.
The man himself is giving nothing away about his future at 2GB, preferring to play his cards very close to his chest as the negotiations continue.
However, his ongoing success in the surveys may not be his trump card anymore. During his absences, the Ray Hadley Show was extended with little impact on ratings.
Time will tell whether GB and Macquarie Media will stick with Jones or make the break. But given Jones remains a minority shareholder, cutting the ties that bind could be difficult.