Radio shock jock Alan Jones thanked his listeners on Wednesday for sticking by him despite an ever-growing number of advertisers deserting his show since his ugly comments about Jacinda Arden.
Jones’ Sydney station, 2GB, suffered a 0.6 per cent overall drop in the latest ratings released this week, but held on to its lead with 13.4 per cent of the audience.
Jones’ show remained on top in the breakfast radio slot with a 17.1 per cent share.
But news of 2GB’s 122nd ratings win came with the news that the 71st major advertiser had canceled advertising with the station.
Jones has come under intense criticism since an on-air rant about the New Zealand PM, during which he said Prime Minister Scott Morrison should “shove a sock down her throat”.
The veteran broadcaster later apologised, and was publicly admonished by his 2GB bosses.
It was a more confident Jones on air on Wednesday when he addressed the latest ratings result with his listeners.
“I rarely talk about myself here … nor do we talk about ratings, but there are plenty of people who report on radio ratings that don’t know a thing about it,” Jones said.
“I suppose given some of the headlines over the last few weeks, this may be worth mentioning.
“There are only eight radio ratings a year in Sydney and this breakfast program has now won 221, which is over 30 years.
“My thanks to listeners who are very loyal. They’ve been with me a long time.”
Jones then read out letters from listeners declaring him the “voice of the people” and telling him to “keep up the fight against the lefties”.
The comments were largely a swipe at critics who have run a targeted campaign to influence advertisers to leave his show.
The social media campaign against 2GB’s advertisers has largely been driven by two groups – Sleeping Giants Oz and Mad F–ing Witches.
While Jones’ producers might not be feeling nervous, advertisers still running their brands on his show should be, Nathan Hodges, managing director of marketing consultancy TrinityP3 told The New Daily.
“The campaign against (Jones) has had some success because they’ve asked advertisers if they’re keen to support him, and there’s some nervousness there,” he said.
“I don’t think we should be distracted. It’s not to influence the audience – if they’re going to listen to (him), they will.”
Scott Masters, a former ACRA award-winning radio presenter who now runs his eponymous media consultancy, said while a 0.6 per cent ratings drop is a sizeable loss, in the massive Sydney market it is likely “to be a blip”.
“In the Sydney market, half a per cent is a bit of a number, but he’s still No.1 by a huge margin. He is Australia’s most popular talkback presenter,” Mr Masters said.
“It’s probably a blip on the radar. I honestly can’t see him spiralling in the ratings, He just bounces back.
“People who love him listen to see what he’ll say next, and people who hate him listen to see what he’ll say next.”
Mr Hodges said the issue for advertisers was that by seeming to support Jones, they were also seeming to “stand by and endorse someone who rejects climate change, who rejects science, who is a racist, a bully, a misogynist”.
“The advertisers should be under pressure,” he added.
“I’m not saying every advertiser should only appear in places they’ve got political sympathies. This is commercial. But it becomes a point where commerce over principle is an issue and this is one of those cases.”
While it’s unclear how much money 2GB has lost from the comments, a Sleeping Giants Oz spokesperson confirmed the group is not calling a truce any time soon.
“Of course he has listeners who love him and who will defend him. That doesn’t mean we should forget all the past indiscretions,” a Sleeping Giants Oz spokesperson, who wished to remain anonymous, told The New Daily.
“The number of times he has used the N-word, his attacks on women, his total disrespect and bullying of anyone he believes deserves his wrath.
“(The advertiser campaign) is a success, but it’s not over yet.”