Alan Jones: The Power, The Passion, The Performer!
I have to admit I have never been a huge listener to talk radio, and in particular AM talk radio. Not because I don’t think its good quality, relevant or worthy but given my years at Austereo and ARN my work and main interest has always been FM radio, with a strong focus on FM breakfast shows and talent.
However, I do admire great radio talent and their work. Talent who put themselves ‘ out there ‘ every day of the week deserve credit.
You can’t help but admire talk back ‘king’ Alan Jones on 2GB. You may not often like what he says but the way he delivers his daily breakfast show is nothing short of breathtaking.
He is one of the worlds greatest radio broadcasters, and a true radio ‘‘showman “
He doesn’t just give his opinions and views, he puts on a ‘show’. Jones is an entertainer and he knows it. He has flair, is unique, he’s smart, memorable and he cuts through, in fact it’s fair to say he gets noticed more than any other radio star in Australia. He gets attention, and lots of it.
Clearly Jones doesn’t care what people think (of him).
He ‘goes for it’ and there seems to be no stopping him.
Jones remains a powerhouse even at 74 years of age. Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with what he says, and a lot of people most certainly disagree, in my view he is the greatest broadcaster this country has ever seen.
It may be hard if you work in the domain of FM radio to understand Jones, his views, his ‘act’ and his show, but you need to dig a bit deeper into his past, his generation, his life experiences and Jones as a person to understand him better.
Talent like Alan Jones, and similarly Kyle Sandilands tend to say what people are often thinking but are too afraid to say out loud themselves. And that can make for great radio.
Kyle said of Jones “ Alan is a true gentleman… We differ on a lot of things… swearing, dirty talk, sex, politics, and the number of weekly listeners.. But he’s a true talent… Unlike me who just lucked his way thru life. Alan cares about politics and I don’t “.
Age has not wearied Alan Jones, in fact it seems to be doing quite the opposite, he’s got fire in his belly.
Watching him on last weeks Q & A was evidence of his showmanship. That episode of Q & A was one of the most watched ever.
He is articulate, funny, combative, feisty, and yet can be sensitive and supportive. He’s always been intellectually brilliant and has always been a great supporter of the underdog, and these days seems to be showing a much greater ‘ emotional ‘ range including empathy, joy and jubilation, as well as his signature anger and rage.
His support of the ‘battler’ and the underdog, which has been one of his hallmarks over the years may be at odds with his political leaning at times as a former liberal candidate. This perhaps comes from his upbringing, growing up on a Queensland dairy farm, his father being a farmer and coal miner.
After his recent Q&A appearance one of the comments from a viewer was . “I hate that feeling when I agree with Alan Jones“. So has Jones changed or has the audience?
He seems to be a bit less right wing now and somewhat more moderate in his views at times. Maybe over recent years Alan’s coming into his own and is reflecting a broader range of contemporary society’s views.
In the last few years he has shown off his more ‘creative’ side, like appearing in the musical “Annie”. He has actively supported medical marijuana use, he’s campaigned against Australia’s irrigation and dam systems, he’s outspoken against Coal seam gas mining, yet he doesn’t believe in climate change and amazingly he ridiculed the choice of Aboriginal Australian Mandawuy Yunupingu as Australian of the Year a few years back.
So there does seem to be some inconsistencies in his views, he can be quite contradictory. However, you can count on him having a firm view on just about anything. In a way, he can be refreshing in these days of political correctness. He says what he thinks! Jones does think and care deeply, that’s easy to tell.
I have listened to and worked with some of FM radio’s greatest on air talents including Wendy Harmer, Andrew Denton, Kyle Sandilands, Tony Martin, Matt Tilley, Doug Mulray, Amanda Keller, Eddie McGuire, Dave Hughes, and not to take anything away from them, in my view Alan Jones has eclipsed them all with his longevity and success. Not only in terms of his radio show, but also his other media work and appearances.
The only exception for ‘body of work’ might be Andrew Denton, but that has been largely in TV not radio.
Jones has many fans and he has many detractors.
Former number one 2DayFM Breakfast host Wendy Harmer said “Alan Jones is a formidable broadcaster. Articulate, forceful, with a keen sense of humour and the absurd. He appears to be across his subject matter in forensic detail. His consistent massive ratings could be the beginning and end of the story.
“However… the numbers on the page don’t tell the entire tale. They cannot ever chart the numbers who are not tuning in to listen to Alan Jones and why they don’t. And why Jones, in some quarters, is regarded as everything that’s wrong with today’s radio “
“A broadcaster with “conviction” is a valuable commodity for sure. But rudeness, insults, denigration and a casual disregard for the facts are also in Jones’ arsenal and are a turn off for many potential listeners“
“This is why Jones’ stance on the many good causes he would like to prosecute are, in the end, blunted for the wider audience he would like to engage. Alan Jones has the opportunity to prosecute civil discourse for the benefit of the nation, but, for whatever reason, chucks his good works out the window“
“There are many, many women who will never forgive Jones’ personal attacks on Julia Gillard. Those insults are remembered and still sting. They inspired a movement, they run deep. I remain deeply discouraged by Jones and his cohort. No matter the fine sentiments they may sometimes espouse.“
As well as his daily radio show Alan also has his own TV show ‘Richo and Jones’ with Graeme Richardson. It’s compelling viewing. If you haven’t seen it, it’s well worth checking out Tuesday nights on Sky News. They contrast well and are combative, just like a great breakfast show. But the main game for Alan is radio.
2GB’s former Program Director David Kidd who worked with Jones said:
“Alan is the consummate broadcasting professional. He takes pride in what he does and what he does is nothing short of brilliant. Alan is intelligent, passionate, well-researched, articulate, humorous, witty and extremely hard working. Alan is not only in touch with the issues that impact the daily lives of his listeners, he can eloquently explain to them who caused the problem and how it can be fixed. He knows how to create light and shade in every show. “
“Anyone who has been fortunate enough to hear Alan speak in public knows how captivating he is; he engages his audience both on air and in public like few others. Hearing Alan introduce a guest is pure poetry. He makes the guest feel like they are the most important person in the room “
“ He is also a thorough gentleman; he is generous with his time and talent. Alan genuinely cares about people “
Tomorrow in Part two of “Alan Jones The Power The Passion The Performer” Brad March talks to legendary Programmer John Brennan about why he hired Jones, how they put his show together, how important is Jones to 2GB’s success and Jones vs Hadley.
Brad March is a Director of Radio Today, is a former CEO of Austereo and has been named Media Executive of the Year. He’s Director of Marchmedia and Pacific Retail Management.