The Alan Jones Breakfast Show on 2GB has lost about half of its advertising revenue after a boycott over the radio host’s comments about New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
According to a report from The Sydney Morning Herald, sources close to the commercial dealings of the station have said that on an annual basis, the boycott could cost the show about $6 million in advertising. The top-rating show typically brings in $12 million a year.
Jones has faced major commercial backlash since he used violent language towards Jacinda Ardern in August. On his popular breakfast program, Jones said that the New Zealand Prime Minister should have a sock shoved down her throat and that she needed a “backhander”.
Almost immediately after Jones’ comments about Ardern went to air, 80 companies pulled their advertising from the show. Recent reports from activist group Mad Fucking Witches indicate that there have been 278 advertising withdrawals in total since Jones’ comments made headlines.
The withdrawals are part of a steady campaign from groups like Sleeping Giants Oz and Mad Fucking Witches, that have pressured companies to pull their advertising from the program.
It’s the biggest boycott Macquarie Media has experienced, with major brands like Coles and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia pulling advertising from Jones’ show.
After Coles’ advertising boycott, Jones retaliated by telling his loyal listeners to shop elsewhere.
“I have been patient for a long time. But I am growing tired of some of these corporate hypocrites,” Jones told 2GB listeners in October.
“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,” he said.
In May this year, Jones re-signed with Macquarie Media on a two-year contract worth approximately $4 million per year.
Despite Jones’ history of repeatedly making offensive comments about powerful women, including Julia Gillard, Louise Herron and Clover Moore, this is the first time an advertising boycott against the shock jock has stuck.
In the past, brands have quietly resumed advertising with the broadcaster after community backlash has faded. This time online groups have kept the pressure on brands and the financial damage is real.