Waleed Aly’s relentless work schedule and large media profile make him the Eddie McGuire of current-day television, according to expert media industry analysis.
Aly has spent the past fortnight filling in for Jon Faine on Melbourne’s ABC 774 radio morning show, before co-hosting The Project in the evening.
The 38-year-old also writes a semi-regular opinion column for Fairfax Media, has a weekly Radio National podcast and lectures in politics at Monash University. This is in addition to his irregular appearances on ABC sports panel show Offsiders.
He is also a devoted supporter of the Richmond Tigers and Melbourne Storm, plays in a band and has a young family.
Media Stable managing director Nic Hayes told The New Daily that this juggling of roles is proof Aly is one-of-a-kind when it comes to broadcast media-skill and exposure in Australia.
“Waleed is one of Australia’s most recognised media talents in the country,” Mr Hayes said.
“He is to media what Eddie McGuire was over a decade ago. Only he is dealing with far more important conversations around society and humanity than a football broadcaster.
“If Waleed wanted to call the Melbourne Cup he could. There really isn’t anything stopping this man from doing anything that he wants to do in media.”
However, Mr Hayes said part of Aly’s appeal is his that he remains “true to his own brand”.
“I am not sure you will ever see Waleed hosting Family Feud. Although he could if he wanted to.”
Why Waleed pipped Eddie
Mcguire, a former Nine Network CEO, is host of Triple M Melbourne’s breakfast program, the Nine Network’s Millionaire Hot Seat, some Fox Footy weekend broadcasts and the president of the Collingwood Football Club.
But while 51-year-old might have just as much media exposure as Aly, his influence and position in the public opinion has dipped dramatically in recent years.
Aly took over as The Project co-host in early 2015 – boosting the show’s ratings, social media presence and winning the 2016 Gold Logie – McGuire suffered from numerous public gaffes.
These included comparing Adam Goodes to King Kong, branding western Sydney the “Land of the Falafel” and joking that Caroline Wilson should be drowned.
But that doesn’t mean Aly doesn’t court his own controversies, it’s just in a different manner, Mr Hayes explained.
“Aly’s views are for many a welcomed approach to both domestic and international issues, but polarising for just as many,” Mr Hayes said.
“It’s a win-win for Waleed as he is just as interesting to those that support his views as he is to those that oppose him.”
Aly’s Something We Need to Talk About segment has built The Project a formidable social media presence. His soliloquy-style pieces to camera about contentious topics are shared thousands of times online and are then watched by millions more.
Despite his busy schedule, a spokesperson for Network Ten told The New Daily Aly would still be on The Project in 2017.