The CEO of Macquarie Radio Network has said the people who last year pressured advertisers to suspend business with the radio station because of comments by broadcaster Alan Jones were “hard-left wingers” who “didn’t have jobs” and had “bugger all commitment.”
Russell Tate made the comments on a Mumbrella360 panel discussion today while talking about the social media backlash to radio shock jock Alan Jones’s saying Julia Gillard’s father had “died of shame” in September last year on 2GB, which is owned by Macquarie Radio Network.
Tate said: “The first thing we did, and fortunately we were able to do it pretty quickly because we have access to the database, was to make sure Alan’s audience was okay. Because if they were going, it was going to be a serious problem.”“After we had that established, it wasn’t a big jump to make and come to the conclusion that pretty much all the people who were making all this noise never had, and probably never will, listened to 2GB. But that didn’t matter because they were still driving the advertisers who chose to talk to the audience of Alan Jones,” he said.
“They were mostly, you know, leaning hard-left wingers who probably listened to the ABC when they listened to anything and didn’t have a job – they seemed to be spending a lot of time on Facebook.”
The event saw the station pull advertising from the Alan Jones Breakfast Show for a number of weeks.
Tate said the backlash was like a “tsunami” and that while it took the station unawares, it faded away as quickly as it arose.
“Nobody was ready for what was a massive tsunami. The thing that stuck in my mind was how quickly this thing grew and they didn’t discriminate in the advertisers they targeted. Rightly or wrongly, we decided to just stop all advertising, which turned out to be the right thing to do. The thing about social media, is that while it can be a tidal wave in a second, it can equally die off, just like a normal wave. It thrives on momentum and if you take away the momentum, you can stop it because the commitment level is bugger all.”
This afternoon Destroy the Joint spokeswoman Jenna Price told Mumbrella: “(Tate) is talking about whether people are Alan Jones listeners, but the thing is advertisers are Alan Jones listeners, and they need to know that he is in line with community values.”
“What Destroy The Joint did was to get advertisers to concentrate on what Alan Jones was doing and the fact that they withdrew shows they didn’t like what he was saying,” said Price.
“It shows that what Alan Jones was saying wasn’t in line with their values.”