Broadcaster Alan Jones has been missing from his Sydney studio this week after being hospitalised with severe back pain.
The Sydney shock jock is off air indefinitely, having already been absent from his 2GB and 4BC breakfast shows this week, his replacement colleague and his Macquarie Media boss have both confirmed.
“He’s currently in hospital being treated for severe back pain,” fill-in Chris Smith said.
Smith is 2GB’s regular lunchtime host.
“His doctors are working to establish exactly what the problem is. The end result is he’ll be back as soon as he can, but we’re not sure exactly when that will be.”
Jones had surgery on his back in November 2016, followed by several subsequent neck operations. They forced him off air for four months.
Macquarie Media chief executive Adam Lang later backed up Smith’s statement.
“Unfortunately, Alan Jones AO is unwell at the moment and receiving care in a hospital. We hope that Alan is as comfortable as possible and that he has a swift recovery,” he told marketing and media website B&T.
“We do not know how long Alan will be unable to broadcast his program. Depending on the required duration of his leave, we will make decisions on who can fill in for him.”
Jones’ absence comes a day after reports emerged that he was disciplined by the board of Macquarie Media following a series of incidents in 2018.
The board sanctioned the broadcaster for incidents stemming from his on-air conduct, The Australian reported.
In one case, Jones and Macquarie were hit with a record payout of $3.7 million in September after being found guilty of defaming Queensland’s Wagner family in claiming they were responsible for 12 deaths in the 2011 floods in the Lockyer Valley.
In August, Jones backed away from apologising after angering listeners with his use of the N-word as part of a foul-mouthed rant about politicians on his 2GB breakfast show.
The Macquarie board was also reportedly unhappy with the way Jones handled himself during an interview with Sydney Opera House CEO Louise Herron, over her resistance to use the building’s famous sails to advertise The Everest horse race.
Jones had called for Ms Herron to be sacked for her opposition to the Racing NSW promotion. He later apologised.
“We had a couple of big issues,” Macquarie chairman Russell Tate was quoted as saying by The Australian.
“As you would expect, the board and management have been very mindful about these things and decided to make sure they don’t happen again and that’s been done. Alan is a professional. He gets it.”