Alan Jones, the controversial ‘king’ of Australian radio up until his retirement from 2GB in early 2020, has hinted that he might return to radio.
Currently the host of Alan Jones on Sky News Australia, his contract with the network comes to an end in November. Ratings for the show have been strong throughout its weeknight 8pm slot with its clips among the most popular on the digital platform.
Despite Jones’ successful career move, he has not ruled out a return to radio.
“What the future holds, who knows… Am I interested in radio? I’m in the media, I’m interested in the prosecution of ideas, that[s] why I write and I broadcast on TV, but in relation to radio, who knows?” said Jones, speaking with The Australian. “If someone wants to put a piece of paper in front of me I’ll be able to give them a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ in five days.”
Radio schedules are famously gruelling, with the 80 year-old Jones previously retiring his 2GB role due to ill health. There was speculation at the time that his departure was partly related to a significant loss of sponsorship revenue after Jones made controversial comments regarding New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. The incident does not appear to have diminished his popularity with the Australian audience.
If Alan Jones is considering a return to radio, competing stations and presenters will be worried. Jones held an unbreakable monopoly over the breakfast slot for over thirty years and his popularity has not diminished. One year after Jones’ departure, 2GB’s ratings are struggling.
Jones was replaced by Ben Fordham, who initially told Mediaweek:
“I have been blown away by the positivity from the audience. One of the reasons they have been so positive is that they know Alan is not coming back. I don’t kid myself for a moment, a lot of people would have been hoping to listen to Alan for the rest of their lives.”
Although Fordham has retained 2GB’s number one spot in breakfast radio, his audience share sits at 13.5%, significantly lower than Jones’ 17.9% recorded in his final year. This places 2GB in danger of being nudged off the podium by the ABC.
Alan Jones is an expensive host, but there is no denying that he brings with him a loyal following of listeners.
“The cancel culture warriors apparently are very powerful. There is a growing media trend which seems to willingly, readily, and too frequently accommodate the Left. There’s a whole viewpoint I think that is not being represented by contemporary media.”
Later in the interview, he added, “There’s no point to being in the big chair or behind the microphone if you haven’t got any balls, and that’s what the public expect.”
Despite his comments to The Australian, Jones insists that he remains loyal to Sky News Australia.