Controversial radio announcer Alan Jones could soon farewell his current gig on 2GB with speculation he may step down from his position in coming months.
The 77-year-old, who has gained a huge following from the Australian public during his years on air at various radio stations, will have his future decided for him on Wednesday when Macquarie Media, the company that owns the station, makes its final decision on his contract, The Australian reports.
According to the publication, Macquarie Media must reveal its intentions to keep or let go of Jones by tomorrow. If Jones is cut lose it would open the door for the broadcaster to pursue new opportunities at rival stations.
Jones reportedly expressed his willingness to continue with the radio station that is currently earning him $4.5 million a year, with Macquarie given four weeks to respond.
Multiple media outlets have claimed the talkback presenter is considering leaving the station with suggestions he could sign a cross-platform deal with News Corp. This would give him the opportunity to work with Sky News, a range of newspapers and mix in a bit of radio and podcasting.
The news of his potential departure comes as 2GB suffered a loss in ratings. In a radio ratings survey by market research company GfK, Jone’s breakfast audience dropped 1.3 percentage points from 16.5 per cent to 15.2 per cent in the period from January 20 to March 2.
Meanwhile, 2GB as a whole saw only a slight loss of listeners, falling a mere 0.5 per cent in Sydney. Jones’ fellow radio presenter Ray Hadley also felt the pressure, down 2.9 points to 15 per cent during the same time period.
Despite the drop in audience numbers for the first part of the year, Jones has boosted listeners substantially since departing 2UE in 1985 and joining 2GB. The presenter managed to grow the Sydney market by a whopping 22 per cent by the mid-1990s with his show becoming one of the most popular programs in the country.
He has become somewhat of an influential figure in Australia over the years, first as coach of the Australian national rugby team and later as a media commentator and board member of the Sydney Cricket Ground Trust.
While there has been no official word from Jones as to what he plans to do with his future, fellow broadcasters have claimed 2GB should fight to keep the presenter on the morning program.
Kyle Sandilands, who hosts KIIS FM with Jackie O, told The Daily Telegraph on Monday that 2GB‘s numbers would drop significantly if Jones was to leave.
“I think they (2GB management) are very foolish not to have secured him already,” he told the publication. “It would be catastrophic for Jones to show up at another radio station.”