'Full stop' arrives for radio titan Jones
Told to either "stop or drop", Alan Jones has put the full stop on his hugely successful, and equally controversial, radio career.
Sydney's top radio broadcaster announced his retirement on Tuesday following medical advice, with figures across the political divide paying tribute.
Jones, 79, made the announcement live on air during his 2GB breakfast radio program.
"I guess after 35 years the full stop has to go in somewhere," Jones said.
Jones' replacement at the end of May will be Ben Fordham who currently hosts the station's drive program.
The veteran shock jock called in to Fordham's show on Tuesday to reveal doctors had warned him "to either stop or drop".
"I thought I better do as I'm told ... you can't go on forever," Jones said.
Jones' radio career began at 2UE in 1985 and moved to 2GB in 2001, where he delivered a record 226 rating survey wins.
His presence at 2GB was pivotal in driving the station to No.1 in the Sydney market.
The former Wallabies coach is expected to continue his roles as a columnist for News Corp Australia's newspapers and on an evening TV show on Sky News.
Jones told Fordham it wasn't difficult to say goodbye but he was concerned about his "radio family".
"This might be a wrench for me but it's a massive wrench for them too," he said.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison called in to 2GB to wish the broadcaster well.
"We've had one or two disagreements but you've always done the right thing by your country and we're very proud of that," Mr Morrison said.
Federal Labor leader Anthony Albanese said Jones was a complex character with a remarkable career.
"I always felt when I was talking to Alan Jones - and some people said I shouldn't talk to him - I was talking to his listeners as well," Mr Albanese told Sky News.
Former prime minister Tony Abbott described Jones' retirement as the end of an era.
"You were the person who would stand up for the battler, the person who would articulate what millions of people were thinking but couldn't quite bring themselves to say," Mr Abbott said.
Fellow former Liberal PM John Howard said in a statement he had always admired Jones' candour and "prodigious capacity" to be on top of all issues.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian congratulated Jones on his career at a press conference and later exchanged pleasantries on air.
"You're to blame for this because you keep running around saying we must listen to the experts, so I listened to the experts," Jones joked while referencing the premier's advice during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ms Berejiklian replied: "First time in your life, Alan, listening to the experts."
Jones outraged many with his vitriolic attacks on powerful women, including former Labor PM Julia Gillard, Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore, Opera House chief executive Louise Herron and, most recently, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
Advertisers fled the station after Jones suggested Mr Morrison "shove a sock down her (Ms Ardern's) throat" over her views on climate change.
Jones and Macquarie in September 2018 were hit with a record defamation payout of $3.7 million to Queensland's Wagner family.
He has struggled with health issues in recent years, including neck operations in 2017, back surgery and an E. coli infection.
He was again forced off the air in 2018 by painful back spasms.
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