There is growing speculation that radio’s $4 million a year man Alan Jones is set to sign a new two-year contract with his employer, 2GB’s owner Macquarie Media, as early as this week.
Media Diary understands the parties are close to announcing a deal after the late intervention of Macquarie chairman Russell Tate and the network’s second largest shareholder, John Singleton.
A two year deal would see Jones through to his 80th birthday in 2021, which has been seen as a key marking point in the negotiations.
Singleton has become particularly involved in the negotiations, as he is looking to sell his 32% stake to Macquarie’s controlling shareholder, media giant Nine, for close to $100 million. But he will only get close to that sort of money if Jones is signed up. Nine Chairman Peter Costello and its chief executive, Hugh Marks, Have both made it known that they want Jones signed.
There have been protracted negotiations this year about Jones’s contract, amid speculation that 2GB’s morning announcer, Ray Hadley, had already been offered Jones breakfast gig.
There remains conjecture about the terms of the new contract, with suggestions that 2GB had been looking to put more onerous conditions on it, including tougher performance hurdles, more say in the production of Jones’s program and succession planning for his show.
Meanwhile, Hadley is said to be “comfortable” if Jones does return to breakfast, having himself just signed a lucrative long-term deal with Macquarie late last year.
In recent months, Singleton has been moving to shore up his relationship with Jones. “I made Alan rich and Alan made 2GB successful … a good deal for both of us,” the advertising veteran, who lured Jones from 2UE more than 15 years ago, told The Australian in March.
The Jones camp held talks with reclusive radio tycoon Bill Caralis in recent weeks, amid suggestions that Caralis could lead a consortium to hire him. But those talks appeared to go off the boil in recent days.
Source: The Australian