Radio Today

2GB drop all advertising on Jones show

In an unprecedented move, the Macquarie Radio Network have suspended all advertising on the Alan Jones Breakfast Show effective from tomorrow.

Macquarie Chairman Russell Tate (right) said that the decision was influenced by threats on social media against advertisers on Jones show.

In making the announcement, Tate has said;

"There is almost universal agreement that Jones' remarks were unacceptable, wrong and inexcusable."

"Alan himself  acknowledged that from the moment he first advised me of them"

"Alan Jones' audience, those who listen regularly to his program, also agree that his remarks were unacceptable. From research we have conducted over this weekend with them, it is also clear though the great majority acknowledge his apology and have not significantly changed their attitude towards the Alan Jones Breakfast Show.

"Importantly, nor is there any indication from regular listeners that their attitudes towards companies advertising in the program has changed adversely." 

"Since we now know these things to be fact, we have to conclude that the avalanche of telephone, email and Facebook demands to our advertisers to "boycott" the Alan Jones Breakfast Show, and the threats to destroy their businesses if they don’t comply, are coming almost entirely from people who do not listen to Alan Jones or 2GB at all – probably never have done and never will."

Tate went on to say that the social media campaign against Alan Jones amounts to censorship through cyber-bullying.

"We have taken this unprecedented decision to suspend advertising in the Alan Jones Breakfast Show until further notice so that all of our advertisers are on an equal footing, can regroup and discuss with us the way forward and how we together deal with these attempts to damage great Australian businesses."

"The decision obviously comes at a very significant short term cost to MRN. It is an insignificant price to pay for our audience to be able to listen to what they choose to listen to, and for Australian companies to advertise where they choose to advertise."

The survey Macquarie have conducted over the weekend was a brief one distributed to 2GB listeners and probed the attitude of people towards Jones, and his program, since the news of the comments regarding the Prime Minister and her late father were made public.

Macquarie shares fell heavily this week, closing on friday at 55c, down from 65c when the news of Jones comments broke. This means a current market valuation of $41m for the consolidated business.

It would appear likely that the share price may come under pressure when the ASX opens tomorrow.

There has been no comment as to the duration of the advertising withdrawal by Macquarie.

The statement from Russell Tate was extensive, and you read it in full below;

“The nature, tone and volume of the reaction to Jones’ remarks, and in particular the threats being made through social media to companies advertising in Jones’ program and the disruption being caused to their businesses, have made it necessary for MRN to call some ‘time out”.

“Some simple facts need to be acknowledged.

“There is almost universal agreement that Jones’ remarks were unacceptable, wrong and inexcusable. Alan himself acknowledged that from the moment he first advised me of them. He immediately arranged a media conference to state that publicly and apologise to the Prime Minister.

“Although the remarks were not made on 2GB, our position from the outset has been that a personal, unconditional apology was a necessary and appropriate response. I encouraged Alan to repeat the apology on 2GB when he first returned to air last Tuesday morning following his media conference. His apology was unambiguous and unconditional. He has revisited his apology many times in subsequent broadcasts.

“Alan Jones’ audience, those who listen regularly to his program, also agree that his remarks were unacceptable. From research we have conducted over this weekend with them, it is also clear though the great majority acknowledge his apology and have not significantly changed their attitude towards the Alan Jones Breakfast Show.

“Importantly, nor is there any indication from regular listeners that their attitudes towards companies advertising in the program has changed adversely.

“Since we now know these things to be fact, we have to conclude that the avalanche of telephone, email and facebook demands to our advertisers to “boycott” the Alan Jones Breakfast Show, and the threats to destroy their businesses if they don’t comply, are coming almost entirely from people who do not listen to Alan Jones or 2GB at all – probably never have done and never will.

“Now in Australia these people of course have the right to express their views to anybody who wants to listen, about any subject they want, including Alan Jones and his radio show. They also have the right and plenty of choice; freedom of choice, to listen to any of the hundreds, in this digital age, thousands of radio programs available to them.

“What they do not have the right to do is on the one hand decide for our listeners who and what they are going to hear on the radio station they choose to listen to, and on the other hand decide for Australian based companies which media outlets they will or won’t use to advertise their products and services. They do not have the right to interfere with freedom of choice and they do not have the right to attempt to censor – not Alan Jones, not this radio network, not the people who choose to listen to it and not the companies who choose to advertise on it.

“What we are seeing here is 21st Century censorship, via cyber-bullying.

“As a talk-station we openly advocate debate. Talk radio is arguably the original form of social media. The difference between 2GB and some catchy URL is that MRN operates in a regulated media environment.

“We hold ourselves, and are held, to account on many levels. We operate within a long established regulatory guidelines and rules. We’re accountable to the regulatory authorities for our license to operate; to our listeners who have the freedom to leave us any time they want; to our advertisers who will leave us if our listeners do; to our shareholders who will show staff and management the door when the advertisers disappear.

“We are happy to listen to any constructive criticism of what we are doing. We do it every day, often live on-air. But strangely we have heard very little on this issue from the same social media groups which are attempting to destroy the companies who have the hide to advertise with the highest rating radio station in Sydney. All of their focus is destructive. They are simply making life as difficult as possible for the staff of companies whose crime apparently is advertising on Sydney’s highest rating breakfast radio show.

“How hard is it to work out that those companies do not choose to advertise in the Alan Jones Breakfast Show because they agree with all of his views and everything he says. They advertise in the Show only because they want to engage with the massive audience who listens to him – an audience which has dominated the ratings in the Sydney market for over a decade. An audience which chooses to listen and an audience which, if and when it decides it has had enough of Alan Jones and goes somewhere else, will be closely followed by those same companies.

“We have taken this unprecedented decision to suspend advertising in the Alan Jones Breakfast Show until further notice so that all of our advertisers are on an equal footing, can regroup and discuss with us the way forward and how we together deal with these attempts to damage great Australian businesses. We’ll be doing that over the next week or so and I would personally also welcome discussion with representatives of the organisations behind the totally unwarranted pressure being put on our advertisers. But any discussion will need to be face to face, not hiding behind a keyboard.

“The decision obviously comes at a very significant short term cost to MRN. It is an insignificant price to pay for our audience to be able to listen to what they choose to listen to, and for Australian companies to advertise where they choose to advertise.”

 

Published on Published on Sunday, 07 October 2012 15:02



Digitalworld (5:38am 07 Oct 2012)
So cyber-bullying is worse than on-air bullying by Jones, Mr Tate? Jones has been bullying on radio and tv for years.
Anonymous (10:36am 07 Oct 2012)
"Alan Jones’ audience, those who listen regularly to his program, also agree that his remarks were unacceptable"

Really? Pop over to http://www.crikey.com.au/2012/10/02/god-bless-you-alan-jones-listeners-speak-out-on-2gb/

...and point out the parts where the audience were telling Jones how unacceptable his remarks were.
Richard S. Kazimer (1:39pm 07 Oct 2012)
MRN Executive Chairman Russell Tate admits the existence as well as conceding the impact of the hugely ignored progressive talkback audience with this statement: ""Since we now know these things to be fact, we have to conclude that the avalanche of telephone, email and facebook demands to our advertisers to "boycott" the Alan Jones Breakfast Show, and the threats to destroy their businesses if they don’t comply, are coming almost entirely from people who do not listen to Alan Jones or 2GB at all – probably never have done and never will."

Were I an Oz station owner/programmer, I'd be riding that "avalanche" all the way to the bank.
Anonymous (7:21am 09 Oct 2012)
The perfect strategy to deploy in light of recent events. The advertisers are buying an audience, and however offensive the comments made by Mr Jones were to these groups, it is not the place of ANYONE to dictate where a business chooses to allocate thier marketing budget. These threats to boycott advertisers unless they comply with the wishes of these groups is unacceptable.
Tc (3:48am 10 Oct 2012)
Not to take anything away from "The Chairman of the board",(insert regals trumpets) who'd clearly be running the place. God, Jones and Hadley would shudder when The Chairman is on station. But, is all ok with Singo? He's not been heard from, and you would have expected him to be on the front foot during this 'drama'?

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