Poll: Who should replace Ben Fordham on drive next month?

Staff Writer

With the news that Ben Fordham will make the leap into 2GB Sydney breakfast from next month, the attention now turns to drive.

Australian media outlets, including this one, have churned out speculation stories over the last week that offer some insight into the potential candidates.

Based on those reports, the favourites appear to be mid-dawns host Michael McLaren and Chris Smith, who was dumped by the station and re-hired six months later.

But McLaren and Smith aren’t the only contenders on a shortlist that is known to very few.

Nine chairman Peter Costello, chief executive Hugh Marks, radio boss Tom Malone and content director Greg Byrnes are playing a game of chess.

The final choice will need to be an almost instant hit with listeners and advertisers, and with ratings making a return very soon, there’s limited time to bed the show in.

ALSO READ: Karl Stefanovic ‘unlikely’ to replace Ben Fordham on 2GB & 4BC drive

While McLaren has proven a hit with Sydney listeners, some suggest the host it too young. Smith, on the other hand, has daily TV commitments with Sky News.

The best trail to follow might be the network’s most recent talent hires, including Steve Jacobs into 2UE breakfast, Deb Knight into afternoons and Neil Breen into 4BC breakfast.

Those appointments suggest the integration of talent across its media platforms could result in a new voice on 2GB and 4BC drive from somewhere within the Nine family.

With the clock ticking and no confirmation on when a replacement will be unveiled by Nine, Radio Today invites readers to help Malone & Co make the best decision.

Voting closes at midnight on Thursday (May 21). Results will be published on Friday (May 22).

UPDATE: Michael McLaren the favourite for 2GB drive

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Christine Kelly
20 May 2020 - 8:51 am

Mark Levy by a long shot. He presents a fast paced program with empathy & good humour covering current affairs in detail. He is modest , but at the same time will make fun of himself. I think he would be perfect in that time slot.
During the Christmas break he is a fill in for different full timers. That is the time he seems to be in his element. I look forward to listening to him even on Saturdays when the sports show is on. I’m not really a fan of sports programs though.
Second choice is Michael McLaren.

20 May 2020 - 12:21 pm

Michael McLaren is the best choice. Regardless of his age he is highly intelligent, has an amazing knowledge of both current and world affairs wrapped up with a great sense of humour and easy listening voice. He would be an asset to daytime radio.

20 May 2020 - 12:27 pm

Put Deb Knight in and put Chris Smith back where he belongs.That man should never have been sacked.

Di Foot
20 May 2020 - 12:54 pm

Mark Levy by a long shot please dont put Karl on he was hopless when he done relief I turned him of he is so full of himself

20 May 2020 - 1:47 pm

Can we bring back Clive Robertson ?
In any capacity.

20 May 2020 - 2:59 pm

Chris Smith is easily the most outstanding candidate, his background in media journalism, superb presentation skills, breath of knowledge across vast subject ranges, patriotism and everyday man persona make him the highly polished gem that was so evidently on display until his ridiculous departure last July.
Mark Levy is a featherweight in comparison I find him impossible to listen to and hit the off switch every time.

Ernst Meyer
20 May 2020 - 3:39 pm

Michael McLaren should have been given breakfast. He is outstanding, articulate and intelligent. He has a great breadth of current affairs. Most underrated presenter on 2gb. Apart from Jones and McLaren the station is devoid of talent. Watch the ratings go down the toilet on Jones departure.

20 May 2020 - 4:12 pm

mm for me

Judy K
20 May 2020 - 4:18 pm

Michael McLaren would be great. He has so much commonsense as well as a good handle on what is happening in the world and locally. Love his sense of humour. I don’t think he is too young for the spot he appears to get on well with all ages. He is wasted in the slot he is in.
I wish Sky would find something for him. I feel with the right opportunity he could end up being one of the best on talkback radio.
I wont hold my breath that 2gb will pick the right person for the job though.

20 May 2020 - 4:20 pm

We always classed Jason Morrison as a future replacement for Alan Jones and then he left 2GB, we were very disappointed but he’s got so much talent

Richard Kelly
20 May 2020 - 5:55 pm

Steve Price!!!!!!!
He should never have been Dumped.

Mandy Price
20 May 2020 - 6:01 pm

Steve Price (No Relation to me) Please, Please, Please. He is Briillant & he should never have been Dumped.

Phyllis Brierley
20 May 2020 - 6:04 pm

Steve Price, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to him before you axed him Please bring him back.

Roslyn Horne
20 May 2020 - 7:01 pm

Michael McLaren should have been given the breakfast show

Emilia Hackett
20 May 2020 - 7:22 pm

Michael McLaren for me. Please don’t put Debra Knight, she’s the reason i don’t listen to 12-3 time slot. Big NO to Karl. Cannot stand him and never watch him on Nine.

Warren Stubbs
20 May 2020 - 8:05 pm

I think Deb is doing a great job in her current time slot. Steve Price would be a walk up if he’d want the job but to follow Deb with a new voice & one is contraversial but very smart, Pets Credlin, nothing to lose give her a go.

20 May 2020 - 8:10 pm

Mark Levy seems to have a Real Positive powerful passion in his deeds.
Very Quick and very much has a Voice to capture the audience of Afternoon Radio

20 May 2020 - 9:48 pm

On a separate note it’s times like these we need to bring back Brian Wilshire at nights, for some proper good radio talk-back. Ever since Channel 9 bought out 2GB, they have culled their best over the last 2 years, now I don’t even recognise 2GB anymore, it’s like listing to the LWNJ ABC. And now Alan Jones is going. The future is bleak.

21 May 2020 - 10:37 am

AJ Jarvis who hosts 2RRR (88.5FM) on Friday mornings 6am-9am- The Breakfast Brew is fantastic. Very knowledgeable, informative with a voice for radio and a huge audience.

Will definitely be getting my vote & worth tuning in for news, sports and humour.

Denis Ausling
21 May 2020 - 11:13 am

It has to be Chris Smith. Definitely NOT Karl Stefanovic, Peter Fitzsimons or Steve Price.

Katrina Brit
21 May 2020 - 2:49 pm

Micheal McLaren is intelligent a young man in a mature mind. What a waste if he is over looked.

21 May 2020 - 3:28 pm

Doug Mulray ?

Rhonda Chapman
21 May 2020 - 4:34 pm

Michael McLaren. He’s done his time overnight. Too good to be overlooked. Brilliant broadcaster!

Ruth splatt
21 May 2020 - 6:39 pm

George moore would be great

21 May 2020 - 6:44 pm

Mark Levy is the natural choice for the drive time slot. His style of broadcasting is funny, witty and has a good knowledge of current affairs plus sport and anything else he puts his mind too. Hadley has been grooming him for years to take the reigns and when he has filled in for both Alan Jones and Hadley he has done an excellent job.
This time slot is the perfect catapult to his already blossoming career. I don’t know if Ben is the right choice for mornings but who is?? It’s a tough gig to follow.

21 May 2020 - 11:16 pm

Jason Morrison is better than Ben Fordham and probably should take over from Alan Jones.
Ben Fordham is too simplistic and immature.

Rich S
22 May 2020 - 1:13 am


Mark Levy!!!!!

Obvious choice!!!

Anna Lauren
22 May 2020 - 7:05 am

Deb Knight on drive and Chris Smith on affernoons

margaret toworai
22 May 2020 - 7:34 am

2GB should leave Ben Fordham where he is and Michael McLaren to mornings replacement to Alan Jones otherwise 2GB ratings will go through the floor

22 May 2020 - 8:15 am

Mark Levy is superb and I enjoyed listen to his broadcasts. It is AWESOME !

22 May 2020 - 8:17 am

Bring back George Moore

Jia Zheng Khoo
22 May 2020 - 8:18 am

Definitely Mark Levy !

22 May 2020 - 9:24 am

Luke Grant without a doubt!!!

22 May 2020 - 9:43 am

I’m a 40 year listener! Michael McLaren should have the breakfast slot! Ben Fordham is such a lightweight! 2GB is lost now mostly all fluff and no substance the exact opposite of what traditional listeners want! How is this for a novel approach Channel 9…….. Ask the listeners who they want, when do they want them and then give them the gig! You can’t lose! Bring back Brian for overnights and tell Hadley to pull his head in as unfortunately he now thinks he is bigger than his listening audience!

22 May 2020 - 12:23 pm

Mark levy is the best !

22 May 2020 - 12:27 pm

I vote for Mark.

Robin masters
22 May 2020 - 12:46 pm

Chris Smith by far the best, relates well with the audience and just hope he can manages to achieve to be the winner. Definitely not Michael McLaren
Even Mark Latham but my 1st choice is Chris Smith.
Good Luck to you

Rob P
22 May 2020 - 3:51 pm

Mark Levy or Jason Morrison – having said that and I hope I’m wrong I cant see Ben Fordhams “blokey” style work with the morning demographic

Dorelle Purcell
22 May 2020 - 5:08 pm

Michael McLaren without question. He is intelligent, has a sense of humour and is an excellent interviewer. He should have got breakfast.

Sylvia Houlahan
22 May 2020 - 5:37 pm

Certainly not Karl, I hate his voice so boring – certainly not Scott Morrison, when he was on 2UE he got stuck on a certain thing and never got off it, a real shock jock! Certainly not Steve Price!! Just as boring!! We want at drive a fun, interesting person.

The only people who I would enjoy are Chris Smith and Mark Levy. In drive we want someone who lifts us up, who gives us a giggle and a laugh.
With Jones and Hadley in the morning it is such a relief when Deb Knight comes on at Noon and then Ben at 3p.m From Sylvia

Ian Lavis
22 May 2020 - 5:51 pm

Mark Levy then Michael McLaren. Both Deb Knight and Chris Smith have evening tv duties.

Denise McDonald
22 May 2020 - 5:54 pm

Michael McLaren is an amazing intelligent informative young man and I listen to him every night he is on 4bc.
I voted for him in the poll and was thrilled to hear he may be Ben’s replacement.
However, I have just read that we won’t hear him on 4bc. NO !!!
If his show isn’t available in Brisbane I will immediately change to a different station and NEVER listen to any 4bc again
Please don’t deny this talented man the national audience he deserves.
Please don’t deny his Qld followers his awesome show

Gary Cameron
22 May 2020 - 6:57 pm

Please not Mark Levy. Cant stand him. I change channels as soon as I hear him. John Stanley for me

22 May 2020 - 7:25 pm

Michael McLaren for breakfast in Alan Jones place. Jason Morrison or Steve Price are also more suited for the morning. We need someone more mature or else the ratings will plummet.

22 May 2020 - 9:08 pm

Jason Morrison. He was great last time he was on 2GB

22 May 2020 - 9:08 pm

Jason Morrison. He was great last time he was on 2GB.

C lennard
22 May 2020 - 9:43 pm

Michael McLaren or Chris Smith should get breakfast (Alan’s). They will both fit straight in where Alan left off and both on top of political agenda’s. That sets the tone for listeners to stay on. Ben isn’t suitable, lack of know how..
I won’t be listening at all if Ben Fordham is doing breakfast. Too many wrong choices since late last year. Moving stations or listening to other podcasts is easy to do. Good bye 2gb you will be losing a lot of viewers, I promise you that.

Roy Thomas
23 May 2020 - 4:29 am

Anybody except that Hadley clone, Mark Levy

23 May 2020 - 7:02 am

Chris Smith

23 May 2020 - 9:49 am

Chris Smith, Luke Grant or Michael McLaren please.
If Chris Smith, then Luke Grant could take over weekends. This would create a regular spot for Clinton Maynard overnights.

Winsome Morgan
23 May 2020 - 1:58 pm

Mark Levy for sure. Please not look at me Karl

Anne Drew
23 May 2020 - 4:49 pm

I think Mark Levy could do a good job with drive as when he has filled in for Ray Hadley he is compassionate,friendly,honest and can also give his opinion

23 May 2020 - 7:52 pm

Who cares.

23 May 2020 - 8:39 pm

Carrick Ryan. Smart, down to earth, articulate.

Bree Katsamangos
23 May 2020 - 8:43 pm

Carrick Ryan, informed, dynamic, measured. I would go out of my way to listen if Carrick were chosen.

23 May 2020 - 9:20 pm

Carrick Ryan

23 May 2020 - 11:35 pm

Mark Latham….

24 May 2020 - 12:45 pm

Michael McLaren by far the best please give him a day time show. His intelligence so wasted on midnight show.

25 May 2020 - 1:02 am

Carrick Ryan

25 May 2020 - 3:24 pm

Mark Levy should stay on Drive. We have him on now.

25 May 2020 - 3:59 pm

Mark Levy smart, has common sense is articulate straight to the point very very witty.

26 May 2020 - 4:14 pm

2gb have lost the plot Deb Knight is terrible she has no idea what to talk about the other day she was talking about calling it peanut butter or peanut paste seriously, Ben Fordham is not far behind her can’t believe he is taking over from Alan i sure won’t be listening,they need to stop putting so called stars from channel 9 and putting some actual talent in the time slots that talk about relevant topics and knowing what the public are feeling…

27 May 2020 - 6:23 pm

Michael McLaren should have been given the choice of Drive or replacing Alan Jones.
You are very lucky to have such a talented announcer.

Ron (Seymour)
28 May 2020 - 9:37 am

Alan Jones reported preference is Michael McLaren.
McLaren is the closest in education, knowledge & the ability to explain & prosecute an argument.

Betty Griffin
29 May 2020 - 9:07 am

We think Mark Levy should conti nue to do the Drive time shift. He has always done a good job filling in for Ray Hadley and we believe he’s doing a good job filling in on Drive. Please leave him there.

Jan Bilton
29 May 2020 - 2:17 pm

I think Michael McLaren deserves the gig. He is highly intelligent and very easy to listen to and has served his time on midnight to dawn. It would be good to listen to him during the day instead of periodically when I am awake at night

3 Jun 2020 - 8:37 am

Michael McLaren, Chris Smith and Mark Levy are all good choices. Deb Knight has been disappointing, and is not a Chris Smith, she has lost me in this time slot. Ben is not an AJ but it is early days, I will give him a chance. I can’t understand why 2GB would want to make a lot of changes. Why not just change AJ s spot if all the others are winning their time slots. It’s all about ratings and sponsors and not the listeners.

Daisy Rose
4 Jun 2020 - 11:49 am

Anyone than Ben – boring…

11 Jun 2020 - 10:08 pm

Michael McLaren is the best talent on 2GB. I now only listen to him and John Stanley. Michael McLaren should have been given the breakfast show. I change the channel when Ben Fordham comes on. Such a lightweight with too many ads and repetition. Used to be a great station with Jason Morrison, Steve Price and George Moore.

23 Jun 2020 - 4:27 pm

OK I realise I’m a late entrant for this job but I hope there’s still time…

I recommend myself….yes, me.

Here’s what I’ll do if given this golden opportunity and I’m quite sure it’ll sit well with whom ever is running 2GB now (I’ve lost track)

1. MORE ADS! Older demographic listeners are basically ad-starved.. they don’t get enough, and that goes for both sexes (my wife concurs) . Devoted 2GB fans don’t mind commentators butting in now & again with frivolous and mostly meaningless comments.. but we like our ads and advertisers like us, so the first thing I’ll do as Drive Host is increase the ads to 52 minutes per hour. Win-win. Oh! when I go to comments, I’ll give listeners a heads-up like, ‘time for a cold one while we tell you about what’s happening in the World’, you know, so the old folk can crack a new one and go for a jimmy riddle. Service to the listeners, see? That’s what I’m all about.

2. MORE SPORT! Common guys, what are you owners, New Chums? Aussies don’t just love sport, we demand it full on 24X7. When my footy hero kicks in the teeth of his opposition I personally want to know how many teeth…which ones…how much blood….did my hero spit out his mouth guard in disgust and try to bash the lame ref when he awarded a penalty just because the other bloke hadn’t held the ball for a minute or so. So I’ll give plenty of sport detail. The stuff listeners want to know: player romances, charges, sentences, allegations denied..all that and more is what you’ll get from me. Top radio coming up.

3. MORE POLITICAL BIAS Look, I’ve noticed 2GB has gone woke lately, a bit ABC if you know what I mean… a bit well, limp. Now I know down there near the fish markets they’re still in grieving over The Great Loss. I hear the tears still flow, sobbing, red eyes, mascara running, choking up at 5.30 in the morning, subdued conversations – and the ladies are still in shock too. But as Afternoon Guy I’ll Go For It and restore Right Wing Radio to its rightful place!

So that’s it. As you can readily observe, my qualifications are excellent and I’m The Right Stuff, no doubt about it. Obviously, terms & conditions aren’t proper to discuss here, but I always pack my own lunch to work and it’s only a train & a bus from my place ..if that might help in negotiations.
Wait to hear from youse.

Ron McDonnell
17 Nov 2022 - 2:08 pm

Anyone, as long as his Jonny one note voice is no longer an air. He is riding on the shirt tails of his father. He has no talent.


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