‘I’m counting on you’: Hadley’s critical message to Fordham
Talkback host Ray Hadley has told 2GB's new breakfast host Ben Fordham that he needs to "work hard" to ensure they both stay at number one in the ratings.
In an emotional monologue on his morning show Hadley credited retiring breakfast show host Alan Jones with his success by handing over giant ratings winning audiences every morning.
"I had a substantial lead-in thanks to Alan Jones, so anything I've achieved in radio has been on the back of him," Hadley told listeners.
"I'll be hoping that Ben Fordham is successful because, guess what? If he's not, I likely won't be number one. So, Ben, work hard son, because I'm counting on you."
And Hadley did not shy away from admitting that his relationship with Jones had "been a bit testy in more recent times" but added that was the nature of a friendship that began when they both worked at 2UE.
"Yes, we've had blues. When I was a much younger man, we had a really screaming blue in my office one day. It was about football, I think, and we yelled and screamed at each other for about five minutes," said Hadley. The fight ended when Jones had to go back on air.
The pair have not spoken for months and most recently had a very public falling out on air after Jones suggested Hadley might regret words he had said about Cardinal George Pell.
Today Hadley was a lot more forgiving. "We've always repaired our damage when we've had a blue before," he said. "There have been times we have had stand up blues and the next day we were arm in arm, so to speak."
He said part of the reason for his mellowing in recent times was becoming a grandfather and his relationship with wife-to-be, Sophie, who had a calming influence on him.
It also meant that he was happy to be doing the morning slot and not the breakfast show, which previous bosses at Macquarie Media had him positioned for before Jones re-signed his $4 million a year contract.
"Of course, I want to spend more time with my children and my grandchildren," he said.
By the time his current contract expires he will be almost 70 and Hadley said he expected Nine bosses had a succession plan in place and that he would retire. "Things change, but I probably will."
In the meantime he told listeners: "I'm really happy to be here at 9 o'clock every morning bringing you the Ray Hadley morning program, as I've done, as I've done for a long, long time."
Emotionally Hadley then signed off the segment by wishing Jones "all the best" and likening their professional separation to the end of a marriage.
"And I've been married to this bloke for 35 years and I'm about to divorce him, which will be my fourth divorce," he said, before correcting himself to his "third" divorce and apologising to Sophie.
Hadley said his "divorce" from Jones was amicable and "I just hope that I get half the farm."
Originally published as 'I'm counting on you': Hadley's critical message to Fordham