Macquarie Media chairman Russell Tate has written to advertisers promising a review of Alan Jones' Breakfast Show on 2GB and 4BC after more than 100 brands distanced themselves from the radio network and the shock jock.
Macquarie has been grappling with a backlash from advertisers following widely-condemned comments made by Mr Jones on-air in August that New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern should have a sock shoved down her throat.
In a letter sent on Friday to clients of the radio station, Mr Tate said these comments "fell below the community standards expected of us as [a] broadcaster".
"This incident has brought into sharp focus the need for all Macquarie Media broadcasters to ensure that the debate they bring to the microphone and the words they use are, at all times, respectful and reflect the standards expected today by our listeners, our clients, and the wider community," he said.
He reminded advertisers that Mr Jones had apologised for the comments and had not intended any harm.
"Through this incident, we have experienced the ability of offended groups to greatly amplify their complaints and to actively disrupt you, our clients and your staff, who have done no more than seek to engage with the audience which chooses to listen to us," Mr Tate said in the letter.
"Of course, we have seen valued commercial partners withdraw from Alan's program, but the fact is we got it wrong in the first place and we must now do everything possible to ensure that doesn't happen again," he said.
"To that end, we have already commenced, with Alan's encouragement and support, a full review of the 2GB/4BC Breakfast Show's content, presentation and controls with a specific focus on audience and guest/third party engagement. That review will extend into all 2GB/4BC programs."
He said Macquarie stations and presenters would continue to initiate and encourage debate on important issues but "must do so in language and tone that all of contemporary Australia finds acceptable" and apologised for any disruption to advertisers.
The boycott, which was led by social media activist groups Mad F--king Witches and Sleeping Giants Oz, has resulted in more than 100 brands distancing themselves from Sydney's 2GB Breakfast Show. Media sources estimate it has cost the network more than $1 million.
This comes at a sensitive time for the radio network, as a $3 million earnings (before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) hit on an ongoing basis could complicate a $114 million offer from Nine Entertainment Co to take over Macquarie Media. Nine owns 54 per cent of Macquarie and is the owner of this masthead.
An expert report is due on Friday to advise shareholders whether or not to accept the offer and shareholders John Singleton and Mark Carnegie are set to back the deal if the PwC findings are favourable.
Mr Jones was put on notice in August by Mr Tate who said that if the top broadcaster made a blunder again he would be fired.
- SMH/The Age