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Monday, October 8, 2012

Aussie radio personality condemned to go ad-free

Face book, 1, Aussie radio shock-jock, zero

It began when controversial radio personality Alan Jones blamed “female leaders” for political mess-ups. Females were “destroying the joint,” he claimed.

Listener Joanna Price didn’t like what she heard, so she started up a Facebook page to complain about it, called “Destroy the Joint.”

Then Alan Jones remarked at a Sydney University Liberal Club fundraiser that the father of recently bereaved Australian Prime Minster Julia Gillard “died of shame” because of her lies.

In common parlance, the fertilizer hit the fan. There was a huge and immediate public backlash, fanned, of course, by “Destroy the Joint.” Panic in the corridors of Mr. Jones’s employers, The Macquarie Radio Network, led to a press conference where the radio personality apologized for having misspoken in such an outrageous fashion, followed by an “unambiguous and unconditional” apology on air.

It didn’t work. 85,000 people signed a petition calling for him to be fired, while the “Destroy the Joint” Facebook page urged its 11,000+ followers to write to advertisers and “destroy Alan’s joint.”

More than a dozen (“Destroy the Joint” say 74) sponsors, including Woolworths, Coles, Mercedes-Benz and ING Direct, paid attention, and pulled advertising worth about two million Aussie dollars a month. The network’s share price dropped 14%.

The network has responded by making the Alan Jones breakfast program advert-free. They’re not happy about it, of course – a spokesman said that the Network had been subject to “21st century censorship, via cyber-bullying.”

Joanna Price, on the other hand, is delighted. “We are ordinary people speaking back to the big guys who have never had anyone speak back to them before,” she said.

Go Facebook.

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