Nine boss: ‘2GB doesn’t need Alan Jones’
Channel 9 boss Hugh Marks has claimed the Macquarie Media group could survive without its star broadcaster Alan Jones and it would prosper regardless of whether he was on air or not.
Mr Marks said yesterday he would not seek to control 2GB heavyweights Jones and Ray Hadley if Nine successfully buys the remainder of the radio station.
But he said Jones - currently under fire for his comments about New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern - was not necessarily a vital part of the station's success.
"There's a bunch of talented people there and, remember, Alan's breakfast program in Sydney … would be less than 10 per cent of Macquarie Media's (revenue), let alone the revenue position of Nine," Mr Marks said.
"Alan's a good broadcaster, Macquarie have made plenty of comments about their relationship and recent events so I won't go into that but yes, of course, that business can survive the loss of any of its talent."
Earlier this month Nine made a $113.9 million offer to purchase a 45.5 per cent stake in Macquarie Media it does not already own, with the deal expected to get the green light from shareholders.
Macquarie Media owns 2GB and 2UE in Sydney, 3AW in Melbourne, 4BC in Brisbane and 6PR in Perth.
Mr Marks said he would not step in and control the feisty talkback kings - even after Jones was forced to apologise last week for telling listeners that Prime Minister Scott Morrison should "shove a sock down" Ms Ardern's throat.
Mr Marks said: "I don't know if control is ever the right word. We have recognition of the different talents of different people on different platforms and celebrating their differences rather than having to control them. That's the right way to run any creative business."
Jones' comments triggered a backlash from advertisers, which began pulling their support for 2GB, and resulted in Macquarie Media chair Russell Tate threatening to tear up Jones' contract if he stepped out of line again.
"I heard Alan apologise for what he said (about Ms Ardern) on the Ben Fordham show … and I think he recognises that this kind of thing could be done better," Mr Marks said.
"I think the challenge for everybody these days is what we do is a lot more public, always is, so everyone has to be better at what we do all the time."
Mr Marks said he was confident the advertisers who pulled out of 2GB would stay with the broader business if the Macquarie Media merger deal is completed.