Jones’ future up in the air as 2GB contract talks stall
Top-rating talkback host Alan Jones could leave his 2GB Breakfast show this year, with reports suggesting that contract talks have stalled with Macquarie Media.
News Corp reports that a legal clause in his contract means that Macquarie has until Wednesday to respond to an expression of interest to continue negotiations.
After that time passes, Jones becomes a free agent.
Currently rating a 16.5% share of listening as of the final GfK survey of 2018, the departure of Jones from Breakfast could see 2GB take a significant ratings hit.
I’ve never commented at any point on this and I’m not about to start now,” Jones told The Australian, who are also reporting today that Andrew Bolt is leaving Macquarie following a breakdown in contract negotiations.
So if Jones was to leave 2GB, what would happen next?
With a huge number of listeners loyal to Jones for many years, any replacement will find it difficult to retain his whole audience.
This is a problem that 2GB was going to have to face eventually, whether Jones stays or goes this time around.
Rising AM talkback star Ben Fordham is a strong candidate to be put into Breakfast, as Ray Hadley is bedded into Mornings with his own loyal listeners.
As for Jones, News Corp reports that he has plenty of suitors, including a move to Sky News.
Rumours are also circulating that the Cherie Romaro-run 2CH could make a run for Jones.
But having spent so long at 2GB, it’s hard to see Jones moving to another station, as it would no doubt take his older listeners some time to switch over, if they did at all.
SMH suggests that Rupert Murdoch could make a play for Jones and Hadley, floating the idea that Lachlan Murdoch‘s Illyria could transfer its interests in the NOVA Entertainment radio stations to Nine, who own Macquarie after their Fairfax Merger.
In exchange, Nine would transfer ownership of 2GB and 3AW to the Murdochs.
Alan Jones has oft been the source of controversy for 2GB over the past year, and it doesn’t appear that life is going to get any easier for the station soon.