If Alan Jones left 2GB would it be for love or money? | radioinfo

If Alan Jones left 2GB would it be for love or money?

Monday 15 April, 2019
Alan Jones Pic: 2GB

Comment from Peter Saxon

In the past, when contract negotiations came around there was little question of ‘will he or won’t he?’ It was inconceivable that 2GB would allow the man they fought so hard to wrest from the all-conquering 2UE of 17 years ago, to slip through their fingers now.
 
This time, things are different. By now, 2GB’s contract with Alan Jones should have been inked along with a nice pic of a beaming Jones and Singo clinking champagne glasses on the station’s website.
 
Instead, the media is full of speculation as to where Jones may be going and why. Last month, the Fairfax publications* had him going to the Murdoch's News Corp while Murdoch’s Daily Telegraph* on Sunday hinted that he could be going to join John Laws at Bill Caralis’s Super Network. * Subscription may be required.
 
Much has changed at 2GB since Jones signed his previous contract.  First and foremost, the station has a new owner: the Nine Network. And right now, they may be feeling a little nervous that the station’s biggest asset remains unsigned.
 
Anyone who was at the 2013 ACRAs would recall Kyle Sandilands on stage, with an unconvincing denial that there was any rift between him and his then boss Rhys Holleran. “There’s no feud between me and Rhys…. But there’s no deal either!” he told the 1,200 strong radio gathering.  The rest, as they say, is history.

Minority shareholder, John Singleton, is also entitled to feel nervous given that he was hoping for Nine to purchase his 32.4 per cent share holding for a reported $100 mil. Without Jones signature on a contract, it’s unlikely that Singo could realise anywhere near that sort of money.
 
Of course, Jones himself has a reasonable stake in Macquarie Media which could be worth up to $20 mil if he stays and considerably less if he leaves. Nonetheless, all this speculation in the media about his options serves to strengthen his hand in negotiations.
 

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So, according to the scuttlebutt, Jones has at least three options to consider, including staying put at 2GB. 
 
Assuming that at 78, he has amassed some serious FU money, he has little financial imperative to simply go where his paycheque will be biggest.
 
If he went to 2SM to do a networked show on the Super Network, he’d certainly get a lot of love from owner Bill Caralis but not much else financially compared to what he gets at 2GB - unless his audience followed him to 2SM. But that would be a big ask.
 
Still, his audience followed him previously when he went from 2UE to 2GB. The only other radio presenter before him to successfully migrate an audience from one station to another was John Laws who, over a 50 year period went from 2UE to 2GB to 2UE again, then 2UW (now KIISFM) to 2UE again and then 2GB and back to 2UE. 
 
Finally, Lawsie retired in 2007 with a serious stack of FU money but after three years, he couldn’t stand being off air and took over the Morning shift on 2SM. This time, though, his audience didn’t follow him.
 
Would Jones want to take up the challenge to prove to the world in general and Lawsie in particular, that he is the greatest radio talk host of all time? If I were a betting man, I wouldn’t bet on it.
 
Then there’s the speculation that he could join Lachlan Murdoch’s News Corp. In his Fairfax Media article, John McDuling describes an improbable scenario where Mr Murdoch swaps his Nova Entertainment’s radio stations (except FIVEaa) for Macquarie Media’s talk stations:  “The idea of a straight asset swap, in which Lachlan Murdoch's Illyria personal holding company would transfer its interests in the Nova FM radio stations to Nine, in exchange for Nine's ownership of AM radio stations such as Jones and Hadley's 2GB in Sydney and Mitchell's 3AW in Melbourne, is being openly talked about in media industry circles.

“It has also been informally discussed by some senior News Corp executives, well placed media industry sources say. But that is a long way from a deal actually happening,” McDuling writes.

My guess is that Mr Jones will stay where the audience is and the money’s good. And Nine will be pleased he stayed because the risk of dire consequences if he left would be too great. Both Singo and Jones may just reap a windfall if Nine buys their shares. And all the parties will live happily ever after. 

Then again, I could be wrong.


Peter Saxon

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1 Comments

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Banquo's Ghost
15 April 2019 - 9:20pm
Peter, one possible aspect of contract renewal delays hasn't been mentioned - whether 2GB or Nine (or Jones personally, if he's engaged as a "contractor") have managed to secure liability insurance for Alan's content. The premium would probably be a screamer. If it turned out that he was uninsurable, would a company such as 2GB be willing to put ink to paper and self-insure?
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