Wednesday May 13, 2020

News Corp announces senior executive and editorial appointments

On Tuesday Michael Miller the executive chairman for News Corp Australasia announced a series of senior executive and editorial appointments which reflects the companies focus on digital and growth areas. These changes will be effective from June 1.

Some of the key changes include:

Julian Delany promoted to chief technology officer, data and digital
Emma Fawcett appointed managing director, commercial product & platform and is expanding her role to include both News Xtend and News Connect 
Fiona Nilsson promoted to managing director, food and travel
Richard Skimin appointed managing director,, Kidspot and Whimn
Michael Ford the new chief financial officer, will take over strategy and M&A responsibilities.
Lou Barrett the managing director, national sales, will take the leadership of all direct sales functions.
Jason Scott is chairman of a new publishing board for the state and national commercial publishing operations
Neil Monaghan has been appointed managing director, business services group
• Peter Blunden takes the new role of national executive editor
• Kate de Brito, editor-in-chief of, will now report directly to Michael Miller
•  Mick Carroll has been appointed national weekend editor
• John McGourty has been appointed national editor, community masthead network

Note: Some of these roles are in conjunction with their current roles at News Corp which can be seen below

For more detailed information on these new roles and promotions see below Miller’s official announcement:

Today, I am announcing senior executive and editorial appointments and changes to accelerate News Corp Australia’s focus on being a more digital, growth-orientated company.

These changes – effective from June 1 – will strengthen our market-leading position as Australia’s premier consumer and commercial content company.

They will make our structures simpler and more nimble, less complex for commercial partners to leverage and will prioritise increasing earnings in our digital and subscription businesses.

In recent weeks we have been undertaking a review of our Australian portfolio and structures and have had discussions with the most logical acquirer of our regional and community titles.

Those discussions have not resulted in a transaction and we are now considering alternative structures to best focus News Corp Australia on maximising digital and growth opportunities.

As part of this strategic direction, the new appointments I am announcing today will position us to be more effective in driving further success in the growth areas News Corp is excelling in such as travel, food, digital advertising products and solutions, and digital subscriptions.

Additionally our new significant editorial changes will embed a collaborative way of working to maximise our sport and news coverage, hyper local digital subscriptions and drive the success of our all-important weekend editions.

I know you will join me in congratulating the executive and editorial leaders we are appointing today:

Julian Delany has been promoted to the new position of chief technology officer, data and digital. This new role, which will report to me, reflects the importance of these areas to our business growth success in his leadership of News DNA.

Emma Fawcett has been appointed managing director, commercial product & platform, and is expanding her role to include both News Xtend and News Connect as we transform News Corp into a world leading advertising services company and data provider.

Fiona Nilsson has been promoted to the new role of managing director, food and travel, reflecting the important growth opportunities these two pillars represent.

Richard Skimin has been appointed managing director,, Kidspot and Whimn, as well as e-commerce to drive the growth of these increasingly important areas.

Michael Ford, our new chief financial officer, will expand his responsibilities to include Strategy and M&A responsibilities.

Lou Barrett, our managing director, national sales, will now take on the leadership of all our direct sales functions.

Jason Scott will add to his role of managing director, Queensland and NT, the chairmanship of a new publishing board representing the state and national commercial publishing operations reporting to Damian Eales. The board will comprise Ish Davies, managing director, South Australia; Peter Zavecz, managing director, Victoria and Tasmania; and Nicholas Gray, managing director, The Australian, NSW and Prestige Titles.

Neil Monaghan has been appointed managing director, business services group, to drive efficiency and effectiveness across our entire publishing business services and operations.

Peter Blunden, our most senior editorial leader, will take on a new role as national executive editor to lead a national sports operation, an elite reporting network and our new internal news wire. Peter will continue to chair the Editorial Board.

In other editorial changes:

Kate de Brito, editor-in-chief of, will now report directly to me, reflecting the success and growing importance of to our business.

Mick Carroll will add the role of national weekend editor to his editorship of The Sunday Telegraph. Mick will have oversight of the vital weekend lifestyle, entertainment, magazine, journalism big hits and service information that drive weekend audiences and subscriptions.

John McGourty has been appointed national editor, community masthead network, an appointment that acknowledges his success in establishing digital only local news mastheads and driving editorial subscriptions through hyper local news.

Mel Mansell, in his role as group director, editorial transformation and strategy, will continue to work with all editors to achieve best editorial practice and efficiency across our newsrooms.

Tom Malone on Alan Jones: ‘Ben Fordham only person for the job’

By James Manning

• June 1 also date for new 4BC breakfast, 3AW refresh on track too

Nine’s head of radio Tom Malone said he had only been talking to Alan Jones about his future with 2GB in the past week as Jones was discussing his work load with his doctors.

See also:
Alan Jones out, Ben Fordham gets 2GB breakfast ahead of Ray Hadley
Nine Radio to appoint new Sydney drive and Brisbane breakfast hosts

As to speculation there has been as many as 500 advertisers continuing to boycott breakfast at 2GB, Malone said: “Revenue in the whole industry has been challenged. Both by COVID-19 and also pre-COVID. The decision we have made is about celebrating Alan and his legacy.”

Malone said he felt Jones’ replacement Ben Fordham will be acceptable to both the 2GB audience and advertisers. “Ben has done a great job in the past 10 years in making the drive slot his own. It’s a hard timeslot to win and he’s been #1 for a lot of that time. He will bring a new energy to the breakfast slot – the audiences will like him and similarly advertisers will as well.”

Speaking to Mediaweek about the challenges of ad boycotts, Nine CEO Hugh Marks said back in February this year :

“The breakfast issues at 2GB have been a real challenge. It hasn’t turned around and this is a revenue business. Audience does lead to revenue – if audience doesn’t revert to revenue you have a problem.

Revenue at 2GB remains an ongoing issue and remains a reasonably significant issue in the context of the business. Everybody needs to work from Tom Malone and Alan Jones and down to resolve that issue. If we don’t convert Alan’s fantastic audience into revenue then the business has a challenge. There have also been some Sydney-specific sales issues we are in the process of addressing.

Read more.

Malone pointed today out that Jones has spent the past six weeks in isolation on his farm and just celebrated his 79th birthday. “Those things have given him pause for thought. He also had some medical appointments and the advice from the doctors is that he shouldn’t keep up his workload.”

His departure comes as Jones is halfway through a two-year contract extension with Nine Entertainment Co.

2GB morning announcer Ray Hadley had long been tipped to get the breakfast job when Jones stood down. “Ray Hadley is our John Laws,” said Malone in reply to a question about whether Hadley was considered for breakfast. “Ray is appointment listening at 9am and he has been there for 20 years. He has a massive audience following in Sydney, Brisbane and 30 regional stations. That is commercially valuable to Nine Radio and we didn’t want to have a change to both breakfast and morning. Ray is very important to us at 9am.”

Hadley also mentioned on air this morning he would have been the wrong appointment for breakfast, telling his listeners he will probably retire in five years at the end of his existing contract at the age of 70.

Malone said 2GB hadn’t considered any other internal or external candidates to replace Jones. “Ben Fordham is the only person to take on this challenge. What he has done in his career for the past 25 years has positioned him perfectly to take on the role as 2GB breakfast host.

As to the decision to not broadcast Ben Fordham into 4BC, Malone said: “Nine Radio wants to have as much local content as we possibly can. We made that commitment when we took over and we have done some of those changes in Melbourne. Alan is such an established and successful broadcaster it is a lot easier for him to broadcaster into more than one city. To give Ben the greatest opportunity of success he needs to focus on Sydney. The Brisbane audience also deserves its own breakfast show.

Malone wants the new Brisbane breakfast show ready to launch by June 1. He had previously told Mediaweek that Nine taking control of the Macquarie stations wasn’t about putting more Nine people on the radio. Since then though the radio network has employed Deb Knight for 2GB afternoons, Stevie Jacobs for its music stations and promoted Fordham. “The Nine group is such a big business these days – a Nine person can now be from radio, TV, digital, publishing, Stan or Domain. The roles are never about appointing a Nine person. Look at the decisions we have made and we appoint the best person for the job.”

Malone also wants the best person for the job to replace Fordham at 2GB drive. “We have some great broadcasters at 2GB who can help fill-in while we make that decision.”

Plan for John Burns still to depart 3AW mid-year

It was announced late last year that Nine Radio would be replacing John Burns as the breakfast co-host mid-year. When asked if that was still the plan, Malone replied: “We haven’t changed that plan. We are progressing with those discussions, and we don’t have any update on that at the moment.”

One of the possible contenders to join Ross Stevenson on air when Burns departs is 3AW fill-in breakfast co-host Stephen Quartermain.

Nine Radio’s music network

The company doesn’t have a name for its music network that includes 2UE, Magic 1278, 4BH 882 and 6GT, a DAB+ station in Perth, instead they are trading under each of their local call signs.

“Those local consumer brands are really important in radio. It is going very well, we are getting great audience feedback,” said Malone. Feedback that has yet to be reflected in the ratings after only one survey, ratings which are now paused until the end of September at least in 2020.

“The audience is loving long slabs of music we are playing at the moment. We are starting to introduce some advertisers which has been helped by the arrival of Stevie Jacobs in breakfast.”

Commercial radio outlook

“Our audiences have never been stronger,” Malone said, echoing other leaders of the radio industry in the past few weeks.

Advertising was tough in April and we are seeing it come back in May, but the market is incredibly short. There are some really positive signs for June and we hope into the new financial year as well. We are seeing a return to spending and we are confident that will only increase into the new financial year.”

Nova Entertainment’s Home Truths: Media consumption in lockdown

By James Manning

A COVID-19 related fall in ad revenue has meant most media sales teams have been working overtime to showcase what their platforms offer advertisers, either clients who continue to invest, have stopped ads, or deferred spend.

Nova Entertainment has been showcasing what it calls its Home Truths presentation.

Nova Entertainment director of commercial strategy Stephanie Loupelis (pictured) has just finished seven days back-to-back of 60-minute web seminars.

The presentation wasn’t just about Nova Entertainment’s radio business, but a timely examination of the media and radio space. Which is why some of Nova Entertainment’s competitors managed to find their way into the calls, logged in under an alias!

The main question that Nova Entertainment wanted to address in the presentation commissioned from research firm The Lab was “How has radio impacted average Australians consumption of media?”

When COVID-19 started the most requests we were seeing were requests for fresh insights about what was happening right now as opposed to recent survey results,” Loupelis told Mediaweek.

“We felt there was a need for an examination of the human impact, what does the lack of the commute mean for media consumption. Are people listening to more, are they listening less or are they watching more. What do all the devices in the home now do for them.

“It really felt like the right time to invest in some independent research like this.”

Sharing the presentation load was Nova Entertainment head of trade communications Tess Murphy. Loupelis credited her colleague, the author of the presentation, with the witty scripting.

The absence of face-to-face interaction has been a challenge to sales teams, most notably the reactions of smaller groups of people as opposed to a large online gathering of people on mute.

With a presentation running for 60 minutes, Loupelis realised they risked some people logging off part way through. “The research was initially developed as a sales tool for our sales teams. When we got into it the research was quite deep and comprehensive. We ultimately felt we couldn’t do it in less time. I know the ultimate sales appointment is 30 minutes, but in this case it wasn’t possible. If we’d put our five national sales teams on the road it would have been very difficult for them to secure that many appointments at 60 minutes. Doing it online let us do seven one hour presentations in seven days and we got close to 800 attendees. It has now set a quite unrealistic benchmark for client meetings from now on!

“I’m used to presenting to about four to six people, my new average is 100!”

Loupelis said online presenting will now become part of the regular sales process. “As we look at how to be a more efficient in business, why wouldn’t we use technology platforms like this as we are able to control the environment and make sure the presentation quality is very slick. We can reach a much bigger audience at a much lower cost in terms of travel time. In a previous time this research would have involved a national roadshow with visits to five cities and all the time and costs associated with that.”

Along with Home Truths, Nova Entertainment has a sales tool called Audio Opportunity which goes out to the market weekly. “It looks at key trends and insights with data from GfK and other data including updates on streaming amongst other things.”

How Trevor Long does Today show and EFTM videos on an iPhone

EFTM founder and Today show tech guru Trevor Long has shared his lockdown life with his readers and now Mediaweek.

Long’s office is not far from his Sydney residential compound. He has managed to keep the office operating with some help from JobKeeper. That is good news for his growing audience – pageviews are up 25% YOY at EFTM. Long has also just announced a $5,000+ EFTM giveaway.

EFTM’s office secrets

How just unexpectedly amazing is the world we are living in today. Amazing on one hand because we could never have imagined such a thing and Amazing how we’ve adapted as a society to the huge changes, and as workers to the concept of “not going to the office”
The answer is technology. And if you’re not keen to get really nerdy, look away – this is complex:)

All my radio spots stay the same, using the same technology, my phone, my Rodecaster Pro and a good set of headphones and microphone.
But TV – wow, that’s a whole new ballgame.

If you’ve watched almost any TV news or current affairs program in the last 8 weeks, you’ve seen the look – Pixelated screen, headphones – probably Airpods sticking out of the ear, and a less than flattering angle from lower than should ever be seen.

Fortunately, I have the luxury of a space I can work in to make it better for me, and for the TV shows I’m crossing to.
Early in the pandemic, I began to re-work the EFTM studio space to allow for a better live TV situation.
Using a Sony RX10iv camera, plugged into my PC via an Elgato Game Capture card which was then visible as a “camera” source in Skype.
On an NBN 100/40 connection, assuming things are good at Skype’s end, things turn out pretty well:

BUT – there’s one big issue with using Skype or Zoom for live TV crosses. You’re at the mercy of Skype or Zoom when it comes to quality.

Just like Netflix has done around the world, Skype and Zoom can and will reduce quality based on their own needs, either to save bandwidth costs, or ensure consistency of service.

This is why I’ve not been able to replicate that quality since late March.
For Today show, I needed a reliable, high quality solution.

All TV networks have a remote camera connectivity system. These systems use Internet, a combination of WiFi and multiple 4G SIM cards to connect back to the station and delivery high quality audio and video.

Some use LiveU, others TVU, others Dejero. The Nine Network for whom I do most of my live TV work uses Dejero.

Thanks to the resources team (Michael Sammut) at the Nine Network, I’ve now got what in the industry could be referred to as a “TOS” – Talent Only Studio setup at my office here at EFTM.

Firstly, I am using a standard iPhone 11. With the Dejero LIVE+ Mobile app installed, and my personal credentials and passwords locked in, I can make a direct connection to the Master Control team at the Nine Network.
Within the App Settings, we’ve chosen PAL format and 1080P as the resolution.

You might think it best to use the iPhone 11’s excellent rear cameras, but in fact the front-camera is a much better solution because the on-air talent can see themselves and check they are correctly in frame.

For more visit

TV Demand: Hollywood and Hardwood as Murphy and Jordan join the charts

By Trent Thomas

Star Wars and Disney+ continues to dominate the TV Demand charts holding the top two spots on the Digital Originals chart in Australia and New Zeland, as well as the Overall TV chart in Australia. While The Mandalorian and Star Wars: The Clone Wars weren’t able to do this on the Overall TV chart in NZ they still managed to get the #2 and #3 spots respectively, with Outlander nabbing the top spot.

There is an interesting mix of new entries to the charts this week with Upload and Hollywood entering the Digital Originals chart in Australia, and The Last Dance entering the Overall TV chart in Australia.

Amazon Prime Video’s comedy series Upload is set in a future where humans are able to upload themselves into a virtual afterlife of their choosing. The main character played by Robbie Amell, has to navigate several complications in his afterlife including a controlling and alive girlfriend, his growing relationship with his handler/ ‘Angel’, and the possibility that he was murdered. The show premiered May 1, 2020, on Prime Video and has been renewed for a second season. 

Netflix’s mini-series Hollywood was released on May 1 and is part of the major production deal signed between the digital platform and Ryan Murphy who has also produced The comedy-drama series The Politician for Netflix. The show is set in post World War II Hollywood and centres on a group of aspiring actors and filmmakers who are trying to establish themselves in the golden age of cinema. Despite some controversy of the show rewriting parts of history, it does not appear to have turned off too many Australians from checking the show out. 

The Last Dance is a mini-series about the career of Michael Jordan particularly the 1997-1998 NBA season which would end up being his final season with the Chicago Bulls where they won the teams 6th championship with Jordan on the team. The series is over 20 years in the making with the footage existing since 1998 but Jordan only gave his permission to use it in 2016. The series is produced by ESPN but is distributed by Netflix in Australia. The first two episodes aired on April 19, 2020.

TV Ratings Tuesday May 12 Week 20 2020

By James Manning

• What happened to Tuesday primetime? Repeats and TMZ doco
• Seven claim another all people win, 10 takes key demos + under 50

Seven News 1,232,000/1,172,000
Nine News 1,115,000/1,060,000
ABC News 861,000
A Current Affair 771,000
7.30 645,000
The Project 392,000/636,000
10 News 449,000/315,000
Sunrise 321,000
The Drum 264,000
News Breakfast 236,000
The Latest 226,000
Today 213,000
SBS World News 195,000
Nine News Late 112,000

Nine: Hamish & Andy’s Perfect Holiday remains stuck under 350,000 with 337,000 for the repeat series that is helping Nine manage its primetime properties. The move has cost Nine another ratings win, with the channel #3 for a third consecutive Tuesday.
The 2004 movie 50 First Dates then did 187,000.

Seven: The channel was also managing its primetime load this week, going with a TMZ doco on Tiger King at 7.30. But get this – it didn’t do too badly with 498,000. That is just as well or slightly better than the Tuesday ep of House Rules did on three of the previous four weeks.
Two eps of First Dates Australia were then unloaded with audiences of 341,000 and 252,000.

10: Dessert specialist Darren Purchese was creating havoc for the contestants during an elimination challenge on MasterChef. The judges created an even bigger panic though when halfway through the cook they took away the recipe that Purchese had provided as the Tuesday Twist. The three up for elimination after all the dishes had been tasted were Amina, Poh and Hayden. Amina was ultimately sent home as the other two continue to live dangerously. The Tuesday audience was 1,000,000 after 1,024,000 a week ago.
The Project ended with 636,000 watching fart gags from Lisa McCune as she promoted the Tuesday episode of How to Stay Married.
The Pete Helliar and McCune sitcom did 439,000 later in the night after launching on 427,000 a week ago. The TV encore screenings last week brought in an extra 456,000.

ABC: Foreign Correspondent followed 7.30 with 405,000.
Catalyst reported on building greener cities with 355,000 watching.

SBS: Great Canadian Railway Journeys then did 308,000 making it four consecutive weeks as the channel’s #1 for the week with an audience over 300,000.
Insight then did 173,000.

Week 20 TV: Tuesday

ABC Seven Nine 10 SBS
ABC 11.4% 7 17.8% 9 15.1% 10  16.5% SBS One 5.6%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 2.3% 7TWO 3.8% GO! 2.8% 10 Bold 4.3% VICELAND 1.5%
ABC ME 0.5% 7mate 3.5% GEM 2.8% 10 Peach 2.1% Food Net 1.3%
ABC NEWS 2.0% 7flix 2.3% 9Life 2.7%     NITV 0.1%
        9Rush 0.7%     SBS World Movies 0.8%
TOTAL 16.2%   27.4%   24.2%   22.9%   9.2%


ABC Seven Affiliates Nine Affiliates 10 Affiliates SBS
ABC 10.6% 7 18.3% 9 11.8% WIN 12.3% SBS One 5.5%
ABC KIDS/ ABC COMEDY 3.3% 7TWO 5.4% GO! 2.9% WIN Bold 5.3% VICELAND 2.0%
ABC ME 0.5% 7mate 7.2% GEM 2.6% WIN Peach 2.3% Food Net 0.7%
ABC NEWS 1.5% 7flix (Excl. Tas/WA) 1.9% 9Life 2.8% Sky News  on WIN 2.7% NITV 0.2%
                SBS Movies 1.2%
TOTAL 16.0%   32.8%   20.2%   22.6%   9.6%


87.5% 12.5%
  1. Seven News Seven 1,232,000
  2. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 1,172,000
  3. Nine News Nine 1,115,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 1,060,000
  5. MasterChef Australia 10 999,000
  6. ABC News ABC 861,000
  7. A Current Affair Nine 771,000
  8. The Chase Australia Seven 692,000
  9. Home And Away Seven 689,000
  10. 7.30 ABC 645,000
  11. The Project 7pm 10 636,000
  12. Hot Seat Nine 624,000
  13. Tiger King – What Really Went Down? Seven 498,000
  14. 10 News First 10 449,000
  15. How To Stay Married 10 439,000
  16. The Chase Australia-5pm Seven 422,000
  17. Foreign Correspondent ABC 405,000
  18. The Project 6.30pm 10 392,000
  19. Hot Seat -5pm Nine 372,000
  20. Catalyst ABC 355,000
Demo Top 5

16-39 Top Five

  1. MasterChef Australia 10 296,000
  2. The Project 7pm 10 160,000
  3. Nine News Nine 143,000
  4. Nine News 6:30 Nine 141,000
  5. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 141,000


18-49 Top Five

  1. MasterChef Australia 10 478,000
  2. The Project 7pm 10 305,000
  3. Seven News Seven 284,000
  4. Nine News Nine 279,000
  5. Nine News 6:30 Nine 271,000


25-54 Top Five

  1. MasterChef Australia 10 509,000
  2. Seven News Seven 357,000
  3. The Project 7pm 10 337,000
  4. Nine News Nine 336,000
  5. Seven News At 6.30 Seven 332,000
TUESDAY Multichannel
  1. Bluey AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 227,000
  2. NCIS (R) 10 Bold 207,000
  3. Outback Truckers PM 7mate 180,000
  4. Peppa Pig AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 175,000
  5. Shaun The Sheep AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 167,000
  6. CSI: Miami 10 Bold 163,000
  7. Go Jetters AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 160,000
  8. Bluey ABCKIDS/COMEDY 154,000
  9. Highway Patrol-Ep.2 Pm 7mate 151,000
  10. Cold Case-Ep.2 Pm 7TWO 145,000
  11. Dot. AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 143,000
  12. Neighbours 10 Peach 139,000
  13. Escape To The Chateau 9Life 138,000
  14. Book Hungry Bears AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 137,000
  15. Dog Loves Books ABCKIDS/COMEDY 133,000
  16. Thomas And Friends PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 130,000
  17. CSI: Miami Ep 2 10 Bold 128,000
  18. Peppa Pig PM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 125,000
  19. Bananas In Pyjamas AM ABCKIDS/COMEDY 124,000
  20. Ben And Holly’s Little Kingdom ABCKIDS/COMEDY 123,000
  1. Jones & Credlin Sky News Live 91,000
  2. Paul Murray Live Sky News Live 85,000
  3. The Bolt Report Sky News Live 79,000
  4. Credlin Sky News Live 61,000
  5.  PML Later Sky News Live 51,000
  6. The Big Bang Theory FOX Funny 44,000
  7. Family Guy FOX8 43,000
  8. Ryan’s Mystery Playdate Nick Jr. 39,000
  9. Family Guy FOX8 39,000
  10. The Big Bang Theory FOX Funny 38,000
  11. Blaze And The Monster Machines Nick Jr. 38,000
  12. Death In Paradise BBC First 37,000
  13. NCIS FOX Crime 37,000
  14. Blue’s Clues & You Nick Jr. 37,000
  15. The Simpsons FOX8 37,000
  16. Paw Patrol Nick Jr. 36,000
  17. Paw Patrol Nick Jr. 36,000
  18. The Kenny Report Sky News Live 35,000
  19. Ready Set Dance Nick Jr. 35,000
  20. A Week With Warnie FOX CRICKET 35,000

Shares all people, 6pm-midnight, Overnight (Live and AsLive), Audience numbers FTA metro, Sub TV national
Source: OzTAM and Regional TAM 2018. The Data may not be reproduced, published or communicated (electronically or in hard copy) without the prior written consent of OzTAM

Media News Roundup

Departure of Alan Jones

Alan Jones showed how to make money from political opinion before Fox

After Sydney radio broadcaster and conservative warrior Alan Jones revealed on Tuesday morning that he was retiring from radio, fans, powerful and obscure, began calling the 2GB switchboard to express respect, love and disappointment, reports The AFR’s Aaron Patrick.

Scott Morrison praised Jones’ patriotism. Former prime minister Tony Abbott, competitor John Laws and NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian wished him good luck.

Anthony Albanese gave up some love from the left.

“You have taken on powerful interests,” the Labor leader told Jones.

“On infrastructure and inland rail I just hope you keep an interest there because you have been prepared to take on vested interests and stand up for your views. You have been prepared to engage.”

Albanese’s praise illustrated two crucial facts that help explain why Jones is regarded as the most powerful broadcaster in the nation: his populist conservatism may not be ideologically consistent, but he is so influential that no serious politician can ignore it, either Liberal or Labor.

[Read more]

With a knock on his door, radio king Alan Jones ends a record reign

Alan Jones was still the most dominant voice in Australian broadcasting – and was barely six months into an $8m, two-year contract – when he began contemplating calling time on his 35-year career in radio, report The Australian’s Leo Shanahan and Steve Jackson.

The undisputed king of the airwaves suspected that his card had been marked by his new bosses. He knew his days were numbered.

In January, Nine Radio chief Tom Malone met with 2GB talent following the full takeover of the former Macquarie Network.

The Australian understands that at that time Jones indicated to Malone that he might want to leave the station earlier than the June 2021 expiry date of his most recent, most lucrative contract.

Increasingly concerned about his health and exhausted by the infighting at 2GB that had almost seen him driven out in 2019, Jones was ready to walk.

Jones maintains he had no role in choosing Fordham as his replacement but the decision pleased him, particularly as he is a fan (Fordham’s brother is also his agent and the family are old friends) and had the added benefit of preventing Ray Hadley inheriting his spot.

The alarm clock sounded on his future on Friday, May 1, when Malone knocked on Jones’s door at his Southern Highlands property.

Time was up: Jones’s top-rating breakfast show, unbeaten in a record 226 surveys, was no longer bringing in enough revenue in the wake of a series of controversies.

Nine was prepared to pay out more than $4m to the end of Jones’s contract in the middle of 2021. The bosses wanted Jones to go with dignity but they did need him to go.

[Read more]

'He's utterly ruthless': inside the life of broadcaster Alan Jones

What’s it really like to be eaten for breakfast by radio’s ‘500-pound gorilla’? The Weekend Australian‘s Greg Bearup sat down with Alan Jones in late 2017 … and it didn’t take long for him to find out:

He’s intimidating. I feel like a mediocre medium-paced bowler defending a modest total; a long, sorry afternoon in the sun is looming. I know Jones was born into a family of poor dairy farmers at Acland, northwest of Toowoomba, so I lob up an easy question about his childhood, hoping to find my line and length. He belts it out of the park. “I don’t want to go into any of that,” he says crossly between slurps. “Mate, everything about that has been written a thousand times before.” I trudge back to my mark.

What you hear on radio and see on television is what you get in person – the Alan Jones Show is only ever off-air when he’s asleep. There’s no ­neutral, no reverse – he’s lived life with the pedal to the metal. Alan Jones has only one gear.

Jones always pads away queries about his age but company records reckon he’ll soon be 77. He’s in fair nick for his age, especially for someone who probably should be dead. In the past decade he’s had a brain tumour, melanoma and prostate ­cancer. And then, in June, he was knock, knock, knockin’… “Technically I died,” he says, picking up a chop and working his way along the bone. “Heart stopped and all that stuff.”

[Read more]

Nine secures 12 month non-compete deal for departing breakfast host

In an interview with The Australian’s Nick Tabakoff yesterday from his home in the NSW Southern Highlands, after a day of high drama, Jones, 79, says a threat by his doctor that he could drop dead “walking down the street” that was the final straw in prompting the man who could make or break Prime Ministers, Premiers and CEOs to walk away from radio.

But Jones’s doctors weren’t the only ones in conversations with the 2GB breakfast king. It was a dialogue with Nine bosses in recent times that ultimately facilitated Tuesday’s bombshell departure by Jones, 13 months ahead of the expiry of his contract.

The departing breakfast king will face no financial penalty from 2GB’s owner Nine for quitting his $4 million a year, two-year contract early under the terms of a deal hammered out between the two parties.

It is understood he now faces only one key caveat: that he will be locked down by Nine until the end of June next year from joining any radio venture that competes in any way with 2GB, or any other station in the Nine radio network around Australia.

[Read more]

The hashtag that shook the foundations of Alan Jones' power

Jenna Price in The Sydney Morning Herald:

In 2012, I dreamt of the day Alan Jones would retire or be sacked. Jones had attacked the then prime minister Julia Gillard for months. He said women leaders were destroying the joint. He name-checked Clover Moore and Christine Nixon as other destroyers.

Those first comments were laughable and made the perfect meme. As social commentator Jane Caro tweeted at the time, “Got time on my hands tonight so thought I’d spend it coming up with new ways of ‘destroying the joint’ being a woman & all. Ideas welcome.” A few moments later, Melbourne plastic surgeon Jill Tomlinson started the #destroythejoint hashtag. While I was busily enlisting people for an old-fashioned protest outside his home, Sally McManus, a union prodigy and now ACTU secretary, started a Facebook page, called it Destroy the Joint, and invited people to connect to fight sexism and misogyny. Within two hours, the page had a couple of hundred likes.

The groundwork for a phenomenon whose power no one – least of all Jones – would realise was laid.

A few weeks later at a Young Liberals function, Jones made the claim that Gillard’s father had died of shame. Destroy the Joint made its first call to action. On September 29, 2012, McManus with friends, acquaintances and perfect strangers, turned Destroy the Joint from ephemeral social media messaging into a movement with real results.

Two weeks later, there was zero advertising on his show. Jones recovered, more or less, but that campaign weakened his power.

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Loved, loathed and feared, no one could ignore the Jones phenomenon

No one could brow-beat a politician on air, or off, quite like Alan Jones, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Deborah Jones.

“Deep down I reckon a lot of politicians hated him, or regarded him as a massive inconvenience,” one well-placed industry insider said this week. “But they knew they had to play ball, and the very few that didn’t usually didn’t last long.”

It was his listeners for whom Jones reserved unwavering courtesy – the hundreds of thousands of rusted-on supporters who tuned into his weekday breakfast broadcasts decade after decade to deliver him a near unbeaten record as king of breakfast talkback.

Jones relished his image as the champion of the underdog and the battler, going into war against progressive elites. “It tickled his fancy, that part of the role, coming as he did from a conservative background,” says Sky News stablemate and former Labor heavyweight, Graham Richardson.

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An enraged Alan Jones gave me a first-hand insight into his power

He is a man best known for his hatreds, reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Jacqueline.

It doesn’t matter if you are an Alan Jones listener or not, you can still rattle off a list of the things the famous broadcaster loathes.

Moderate dislike is not his thing. In no particular order, Jones, who retired today, has spent his 35 years on air hating emissions reduction, the climate warming hoax, cycleways, the Greens, Sydney lord mayor Clover Moore, former Australian of the Year Rosie Batty, environmental science, Malcolm Turnbull, Julia Gillard, the temerity of anyone who thought it inappropriate to advertise a horse race on the Opera House sails, Opera House CEO Louise Herron, former Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle, Greta Thunberg, Jacinda Ardern and coal seam gas.

You will notice the list is over-burdened with women – overall he seemed to have little use for them, and the powerful ones he especially loathed.

In 2011, I was working in the Canberra press gallery when the campaign to “axe the tax” – the Gillard government’s carbon price – was picking up steam.

Jones travelled to Canberra to address the “Convoy of No Confidence” – a ragtag collection of truckers who had driven to Canberra to protest against the “carbon tax”.

The atmosphere was hostile. After observing for a while, I walked over to Jones, who was at the back of the stage listening as someone else addressed the crowd, and asked him if he had been paid to emcee the rally.

He was instantly enraged. He called me a “grub” as he leaned over me, face reddening, asking how I could look myself in the mirror. Soon he reclaimed the microphone and used it to shout my name, and that of my press gallery colleague, David Lipson, to the crowd. The crowd started yelling and booing at us, and demanded we come on stage to defend ourselves.

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Race, women, climate: the recurring themes of Alan Jones's career

When Alan Jones suggested Scott Morrison should shove a sock down the throat of the New Zealand prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, last year it was the final straw for many in a 35-year radio career that has seen the divisive Sydney personality survive scandal time and time again, reports Guardian Australia’s Amanda Meade.

Jones’s radio ratings were consistently so high and his political connections so impeccable he hung on to his career despite uttering numerous racial slurs, making misogynist comments about female leaders, raising the ire of broadcasting authorities and attracting eye-watering defamation payouts and legal fees.

But nine months after he apologised to Ardern for “not choosing his words carefully”, the anger about his attacks on her and other high-profile women – including the former Australian prime minister Julia Gillard and the Opera House chief, Louise Herron – failed to die.

[Read more]

Business of Media

News Corp calls halt on ACM community mastheads deal

News Corp Australia will not proceed with a sale of its portfolio of more than one hundred regional and community newspapers to Antony Catalano’s Australian Community Media after the two companies could not agree on terms for a deal, reports The Australian’s Leo Shanahan.

In a note to staff on Tuesday morning News Corp Australasia executive chairman Michael Miller said the talks with ACM had not resulted in a transaction, with the company now focused on “alternative structures” to focus the company on digital growth.

“In recent weeks we have been undertaking a review of our Australian portfolio and structures and have had discussions with the most logical acquirer of our regional and community titles, Miller said.

“Those discussions have not resulted in a transaction and we are now considering alternative structures to best focus News Corp Australia on maximising digital and growth opportunities.”

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News Corp regional, community papers face digital-only future

The print editions of a swath of News Corp Australia’s regional and community publications are likely to become digital-only, report The AFR’s Max Mason and Sarah Thompson.

Cohorts of high-value print mastheads would remain as part of a restructure that will expand a model the media giant began testing in 2018 across 16 areas where it did not have newspapers.

News Corp Australia executives have long believed in the value of hyper-local journalism. It continues to rate highly, and the company has been looking at ways to make its community and regional portfolio a more sustainable business. The transformation has become urgent during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has seen advertising markets across all media drop dramatically.

News Corp Australasia chairman Michael Miller warned that community mastheads needed to be a “viable business” and said some of the publications were “more community service than commercial business”, which was not sustainable.

[Read more]

News Brands

‘A firm uppercut’: Travel industry boss lashes out at ACA host

The head of Australia’s peak body for travel agents has told an online seminar that A Current Affair host Tracy Grimshaw “needs to be given a firm uppercut or a slap across the face” over the program’s reporting of a travel industry refund scandal, reports Nine publishing’s David Estcourt.

Australian Federation of Travel Agents chief executive Jayson Westbury made the comments while addressing the group’s stakeholders last Friday about how negative publicity about the industry was being addressed.

“I won’t ever be watching it (Channel 9’s ACA) again. I think that Tracy Grimshaw needs to be given a firm uppercut or a slap across the face, and I mean that virtually, of course, I wouldn’t want to invoke (sic) any violence on anyone.”

“But, I mean, some of the behaviour and some of the language that’s being used on that program is just outrageous,” he said.

A recording of the seminar, published on YouTube and on the AFTA website, was later removed.

Westbury declined to comment when contacted by The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.

[Read more]


Nova sacking: Former radio boss Jay Walkerden sues for $216,000

Sacked radio boss Jay Walkerden’s generous salary has been revealed after he sued his former employer alleging they breached his employment contract by failing to pay him $216,316, reports The Courier-Mail’s Vanda Carson.

In his claim filed in the District Court in Brisbane, Walkerden alleges top-rating Nova 106.9 Pty Ltd owes him the cash because they didn’t give him six months notice when they sacked him “with immediate effect” on March 16.

Walkerden claims he was earning $336,033 a year and had worked for the radio station for eight years and 28 weeks when he was let go, court documents state.

He was also entitled to annual bonuses of up to $32,000 if the station reached number one in the GfK Media Research surveys, the claim states.

The station was number one in Brisbane in the April 16 GfK survey.

Walkerden left Nova Entertainment after an internal investigation following an alleged confrontation involving a male announcer on 106.9’s Ash, Kip, Luttsy & Susie breakfast show.

Walkerden – the station’s Brisbane general manager and program director, and Nova’s head of podcasting – was on a Californian trip with the crew in late February when the alleged incident occurred.

[Read more]


Home and Away plans to resume filming after COVID-19 break

Home and Away will soon resume production after an almost two-month break because of ­coronavirus, reports News Corp’s Jonathon Moran.

Like productions around the world, stars of the popular Channel 7 TV soap have been on a forced break to reduce the risk of spreading the COVID-19 illness.

Actors will be back to work in a fortnight, but storylines will be reworked to reduce close contact between actors and other precautions will also be taken.

“A range of measures will be in place to minimise risk for cast and crew, to be overseen by dedicated safety officers,” a Seven spokeswoman said.

“The measures include temperature checks on arrival, increased hygiene practices and rigorous cleaning schedules.

“Scripts will also be reworked to reduce close contact, in constant consultation with the cast and crew to ensure the health and safety of all.”

Production will resume on May 25 at Seven’s Sydney studios in Eveleigh, with location shoots at Palm Beach understood to be on hold for now.

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Sports Media

Nine, NRL on brink of deal to seal $1.7 billion broadcast bonanza

Nine Entertainment Co is close to agreeing to a revised three-year deal with the NRL as the code prepares to announce a broadcast contract worth up to $1.9 billion. Reports The Sydney Morning Herald’s Michael Chammas.

After weeks of negotiations, during which Nine threatened to walk away from the sport, the free-to-air network is now on the verge of recommitting to the NRL for the rest of the current broadcast cycle, which ends in 2022.

A series of meetings on Tuesday afternoon culminated in Nine earning a discount from the NRL of around $50-$70 million over the next three years. An extension remains unlikely but not impossible before the NRL announces the deal. It comes as Foxtel, which is desperate to extend its tenure as the game’s pay-TV provider, moves towards finalising a deal worth about $200m a year, potentially until 2027.

Sources with knowledge of the negotiations say Nine’s revised deal could represent a saving of up to 20 per cent on what it was originally due to pay in the final three years of the deal. Based on that discount, Nine will pay about $85-$90m in 2020, a discount of up to $30m. It will pay in the vicinity of $90-$100m in the final two years.

Foxtel is also closing in on finalising a deal with the sport that is worth up to $1.6b should they commit until 2027. Fox Sports was due to contribute about $190m this year, increasing by $10m in each of the next two years.

Sources close to the negotiation say Fox will now pay a significantly reduced fee in 2020 and average payments of about $200m a season for up to the next seven years.

[Read more]

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