Jones’ shock 2GB retirement as Fordham wins coveted slot
Talkback radio host Alan Jones has sensationally quit his top rating 2GB breakfast show because of ill health and it is understood he will be replaced by afternoon presenter Ben Fordham.
Jones made the surprise announcement on his show at 8.10am Tuesday and is expected to walk away from the microphone at the end of the month.
Ray Hadley has coveted the breakfast chair for years but is understood to be happy with the arrangement.
Jones told his loyal listeners, who last month delivered him his 226th ratings win, that he had decided to step down because of the ill health that has dogged him for years.
Jones said he was taking the opportunity to tell his "radio family" that he will be "retiring from radio at the end of this month".
He said the "the experts are telling me in no uncertain terms" that he needs to seriously cut his work load.
"I am not retiring I am just retiring from radio," he said
Jones, who has been broadcasting from his farm in the Southern Highlands during the coronavirus crisis, has been off-air because of severe back pain for months at a time and was hospitalised at St Vincents in November 2018.
It is understood bosses at Nine, which took control of Macquarie Media last year, have agreed to pay out the remainder of Jones's $4 million a year contract which expires in June 2021 when The Daily Telegraph columnist turns 80.
Fordham is understood to be surprised that he was picked over Hadley to take the breakfast show. He told one friend it was like being asked to go into bat after Donald Bradman with Australia trailing by 400 runs.
Jones last month saw ratings jump 3.1 per cent to secure him a massive 17.9 per cent share of the Sydney breakfast market with the nearest rival, ABC Sydney, trailing behind with a 10.9 per cent share.
Jones and Hadley have not spoken to each other for months after Macquarie Media's former bosses engineered to move Hadley into the breakfast slot.
Negotiations on Jones's contract were stalled and Steve Price moved off nights to fill Hadley's shoes once he took the breakfast crown.
However, Jones was rehired last May and when Nine bosses took total control in August they wasted no time in sweeping a broom through the ranks of Macquarie Media managers. Price was axed a few months later.
That left a simmering feud between the two top rating presenters which erupted into an ugly stoush last month over the acquittal of Cardinal George Pell last month. Hadley blasted Jones for poorly researched rubbish after Jones said he was sure his 2GB colleague "regrets" comments he had made about Pell.
Originally published as Jones' shock 2GB retirement as Fordham wins coveted slot