2GB stars’ behaviour classes amid Alan Jones review

 

A review of broadcaster Alan Jones's top rating breakfast show has been ordered as owner Macquarie Media moves to shore-up a takeover deal.

Chairman Russell Tate wrote to advertisers promising a review of Jones's show that would extend to every program on 2GB and 4BC.

All Macquarie Media staff including presenters have also been ordered to undergo a compulsory "values and behaviour workshop" in coming weeks as the company aims to positively change its workplace culture.

Staff were told of the workshop in an email from CEO Adam Lang earlier this month which outlined the company's aim to positively change its workplace culture and allow people to "feel safe, supported and productive".

Broadcaster Alan Jones pictured leaving his 2GB offices at Pyrmont--. Picture: Richard Dobson
Broadcaster Alan Jones pictured leaving his 2GB offices at Pyrmont--. Picture: Richard Dobson

"The purpose of these workshops is to enable you to understand and role model acceptable behaviour in the workplace," Mr Lang wrote.

"These two-hour sessions include opportunity for open discussion to act upon the best ways we can keep building a better work environment".

Mr Lang also told Macquarie Media employees the workshops were aimed at building a "workplace culture" that achieves the company's mission.

The review of Jones's program comes after the broadcaster said New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern should have a sock shoved down her throat. Jones apologised on air and to Ms Ardern for the comments, which he said had been misrepresented.

Mr Tate wrote to advertisers today saying the comments "fell below the community standards expected of us as [a] broadcaster.

"This incident has brought into sharp focus the need for all Macquarie Media broadcasters to ensure that the debate they bring to the microphone and the words they use are, at all times, respectful and reflect the standards expected today by our listeners, our clients, and the wider community," he said.

After the comments were aired 2GB advertisers were targeted by social media activists Mad F***ing Witches and Sleeping Giants Oz. More than 100 brands are understood to have pulled their ads at a cost to the station of more than $1 million.

Macquarie Media chairman Russell Tate wrote to advertisers promising a review.
Macquarie Media chairman Russell Tate wrote to advertisers promising a review.


Today Mr Tate sought to allay their concerns. "Through this incident, we have experienced the ability of offended groups to greatly amplify their complaints and to actively disrupt you, our clients and your staff, who have done no more than seek to engage with the audience which chooses to listen to us," he wrote in the letter.

"Of course, we have seen valued commercial partners withdraw from Alan's program, but the fact is we got it wrong in the first place and we must now do everything possible to ensure that doesn't happen again," he said.

Jones later apologised to New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern after his controversial comment.
Jones later apologised to New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern after his controversial comment.

"To that end, we have already commenced, with Alan's encouragement and support, a full review of the 2GB/4BC Breakfast Show's content, presentation and controls with a specific focus on audience and guest/third party engagement. That review will extend into all 2GB/4BC programs."

The move comes as Macquarie Media is in the middle of a $114 million takeover offer from Nine Entertainment, which already owns 54 per cent of the station. Mr Tate's letter is a bid to retain advertisers and shore up the share price.

Shareholders John Singleton and Mark Carnegie are waiting on a report by PwC on Friday to guide them on whether to accept the offer or not. Mr Singleton has already indicated his share would be $20 million less than he wanted.



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