Jim Wilson on not re-inventing the wheel on 2GB Drive

“I feel like I have come home.”

The retirement of 2GB staple Alan Jones set off a game of musical chairs at 2GB with drive host Ben Fordham moving up the schedule to take over the 2GB breakfast show. This saw Seven’s senior sports journalist and TV presenter Jim Wilson take the vacant seat of 2GB’s drive program.

Wilson isn’t a radio rookie having appeared across many of Nine’s radio stations for the last two decades. He spoke to Mediaweek about what to expect from his new show, and what it’s like launching a major radio show during a pandemic.

After joining Seven in 1992, Wilson said that it was always going to take a lot for him to want to change employers.

“I am 52 and have a lot of my work life in front of me. I have always enjoyed the immediacy and intimacy of radio and the variety of doing a show like drive was a major factor of going down this path.

“I feel like I have come home. I started with Nine in the mid-’80s and I have contributed a lot to a variety of different radio stations over the years. It was not a spur of the moment decision – going back a number of years I have always had a desire to do more radio.”

On his first broadcast, Wilson delivered a fast-paced program with a guest list including Prime Minister Scott Morrison, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, ARL Commission Chairman Peter V’landys, and former Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

However, he said the important thing was to not rely on name power but to provide a show that provided listeners value for money.

“It is a marathon and not a case of having heavy-hitting big names on day one, you need to consistently deliver each day.

“The big thing that I have learnt over the last 30 years is that you need to inform the listener and have some fun along the way as well.”

While Coldplay was swapped out for INXS’s New Sensation as the theme song Wilson said that not a lot needed changing for the show.

“Ben had a great formula and I was not coming in to re-invent the wheel. He is enthusiastic and has a great energy about him and I am sort of cut from the same cloth. We are a different sort of presenters, but the bottom line is we have the same passion.

“Ben showed on his program that you have to be genuine, compassionate and empathetic, and I was brought up to be that way by my mother as well.”

One thing that listeners should expect more of from Wilson’s edition of 2GB drive is the coverage of topics that are near and dear to his heart.

“Mental health right now needs to be at the top of priorities along with getting people jobs, keeping people safe, and finding a vaccine. There is a lot of people struggling and it will be a regular thing on the program whether it be mental health or research, we want to make a difference.”

Wilson has launched his show in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic which has caused upheaval in every facet of life including the media industry. Wilson said that due to the news cycle being generated by this he wanted to jump in the hot seat as soon as possible.

“I left Seven and I only had a couple of days off, and I thought I want to get into this. While it is a terrible thing that was evolving throughout our country it is a huge news story with so many different angles to it. I thought now is as good a time as ever to start.”

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