You do not have to agree with everything Alan Jones says, but you will have to get used to hearing it.
“I’ll be everywhere, you won’t be able to escape me,” Jones said on Friday morning, announcing his surprise return to the airwaves, in a manner of speaking.
While his broadcast career appears over, the veteran shock-jock is not retiring or running for politics despite being approached by, in his words, “every political party”.
Instead he will host a new online show – Alan Jones: Direct to the People.
The show will be streamed live on social media platforms and podcasted, as well as going on Jones’ own website.
The announcement was made in front of a wall bearing the logo for a company called Australian Digital Holdings, which was registered on November 25.
Jones said his new strategy º similar to that used by independent podcasters, vloggers, bloggers, and others on the internet for several years – was “the tomorrow of media” and “has never been done in Australia before”.
“This is the world of tomorrow,” he said.
“This is the world young people access.”
Those young people will have to wait until Monday night for Jones’ first show, for which the theme “will be that Australia is not the Australia we want it to be”.
He said the show would take a format “familiar to Alan Jones supporters”, with an opening editorial, interviews, and “a bit of a laugh”.
Jones is the first big name to join Australian Digital Holdings but the company plans to welcome “other well known faces” in the next six months.
People tuning into Jones’ announcement from the Hilton Hotel in Sydney’s CBD on Friday morning could be forgiven for thinking they were back in their cars listening to him in full flight, delivering the opening sermon that kicked off his long-running breakfast show.
In just 20 minutes, he managed to slam self-censure and cancel culture, criticise a lack of “freedom” in Australia, boast of “enormous” ratings for his Facebook content, and lament that young people could not recite poetry, all while spruiking his new show.
Last month it emerged his Sky News contract would not be renewed.
That followed the end of his column in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph in July, with Jones disputing reports he was cut because his column no longer resonated with readers.
After spending decades as a feared presence on Sydney’s airwaves, later expanding his reach across the country with the syndication of his ratings-dominating breakfast radio show, Jones left 2GB after 18 years in May 2020, citing ill health.
Not long later he was back on-air at Sky News, where he hosted shows four nights a week until November.
He opted not to pursue other options with traditional media outlets because he did not want his views influenced or interfered with, which would not happen on his new show, he said.
“This is a freedom which I will appreciate and will be exercised responsibly,” Jones said.
No stranger to a lawsuit, Jones said “we’ve got the best legal minds” behind Australian Digital Holdings, but he would – of course – “be saying what Alan Jones thinks”.