Jones flouts 2GB gag on advertisers
BOSSES at radio station 2GB have ordered talk show hosts not to criticise advertisers in a policy that insiders say is effectively "cash for silence".
Details of the edict from Macquarie Media management came to light after broadcaster Alan Jones told listeners on Thursday to give "corporate hypocrites" Coles a wide berth.
The supermarket giant pulled advertising from Jones' show but is still a big advertising player across the network. The breach of company policy could lead to veteran broadcaster Jones being carpeted by station chiefs.
It is understood that a 2GB executive ordered that staff be told not to criticise advertisers during training last December.
"It basically allows big companies to try and buy our silence," one staffer told The Saturday Telegraph.
Macquarie Media is in the process of being fully taken over by Nine Entertainment, which inherited its controlling stake via its $4 billion merger with Fairfax Media last year.
Fairfax journalists protested at Jones's comments about New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in August, which prompted Coles and other businesses to pull their advertising.
But journalistic freedom at 2GB has been further restricted, with the no-criticism policy extended to include Nine television shows.
"Staff were spoken to a few months ago when a show criticised Married At First Sight and encouraged negative calls on the series," the insider said.
Jones fired up at Coles after it emailed a listener who had defended him over the comments about Ms Ardern, for which he subsequently apologised.
"I have been patient for a long time. But I am growing tired of some of these corporate hypocrites," Jones told listeners to his breakfast show on 2GB and 4BC.
He said they were the same people who were ripping off dairy farmers.
"My advice to Coles is get your own value system in order before you start passing judgment about other people. But don't worry; we can both play the same game," Jones said.
"So I can tell my listeners to give Coles supermarkets and their petrol stations a very wide berth.
"This is a two-way street. We can both play the same game. It might be time I entered the ring and started playing that game. And good luck to you by the time I am finished."
2GB did not respond to requests for comment.