Controversial radio host and commentator Alan Jones has concluded his final breakfast program and retired from the airwaves after 35 years.
Jones, 79, called time on his 2GB radio slot at 9am on Friday, finishing with his decades-old theme song Gloria, by the late US singer Laura Branigan.
The host dedicated his final program to his “loyal, supportive and sometimes critical” army of listeners.
“My listeners have been wonderful,” he said.
“The program is nothing more really than a great big family.”
Jones also spoke to NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller, who thanked him for his support of his officers and public safety, as well as Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
The former Wallabies coach announced earlier in May he was retiring on the advice of his doctors after decades of 2am-3am starts to prepare for his show.
“It’s an extraordinary career by any estimation and beyond that, there’s a broader contribution to public life on so many issues,” Mr Morrison said.
“Enjoy a bit of time off – I’m glad you’re taking the medical experts’ advice, I’ll be doing that later this morning and later again today at the National Cabinet.”
NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro phoned in to tell Jones his support for the regions would not be forgotten and he was “a champion for Team Australia”.
“What keeps me up at night is that there are people falling through the cracks and if it wasn’t for you, Alan, they would never be identified,” Mr Barilaro said.
Others to call into the program on Friday included ex-Socceroo Mark Bosnich, ex-Australia cricket star Matthew Hayden and ex-Canberra apparatchik and Jones’ Sky News TV co-host Peta Credlin, who described the broadcaster as “the ombudsman of life”.
A 2GB audio reel of Jones’ most significant guests – including decades of Australian prime ministers, Donald Trump, Jane Fonda and Lionel Ritchie – and radio moments was also played.
In his many years on radio, Jones became the self-appointed and sometimes outrageously dogmatic voice of the battler, feared and courted by politicians.
His career was often controversial and just last week he was found to have breached broadcasting standards for a 2019 spray in which he said Mr Morrison should “shove a sock down [the] throat” of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
The tirade prompted a mass withdrawal of advertisers from 2GB and the station’s management told Jones he was on his last warning.
He has also faced numerous defamation cases because of his on-air comments.
In 2018, Jones, 2GB and Brisbane station 4BC were ordered to pay $3.75 million in damages to Toowoomba’s Wagner family after inferring they were responsible for the deaths of 12 people during the 2001 Grantham floods.
Jones began his radio career at 2UE in 1985 and moved to 2GB in 2001, where he delivered a record 226 wins in rating surveys and drove the station to No.1 in the Sydney market.
Jones will continue as a columnist for News Corp Australia’s newspapers and as a Sky News host. His breakfast slot will be taken by 2GB’s current afternoon host, Ben Fordham.
2GB morning presenter Ray Hadley also paid tribute to Jones, saying his ratings success would never be equalled and that the pair mostly got along.
“People say, ‘oh you’ve had blues’. Well you can’t work with someone for 35 years and not have a stink, and I’ll miss the stinks, not as much as I’ll miss the good times – and they were the majority of the times, good times with Alan,” Hadley said.