ABA further investigation of Jones’ ownership status

Responding to a complaint from the Communications Law Centre, the ABA requested more information from 2GB about Alan Jones’ ownership status, which has now been received.

Jones owns equity in the station “above 15%,” with unofficial speculation putting the figure somewhere between 20 – 40%. The part-ownership is said to have been finalised from 24 October. The ABA’s statement about the progress of its further enquiries says:

“Yesterday, and on 29 October 2002, the Australian Broadcasting Authority received notifications that Mr Alan Jones was, from 24 October 2002, in a position to exercise control of the licences for commercial radio services 2GB and 2CH Sydney in accordance with the Broadcasting Services Act 1992.

The ABA must be notified of changes in control of a commercial broadcasting licence within seven days.

Macquarie Radio Network has previously assured the ABA that there was no change to report in relation to the ownership or control of 2GB.

The change notified is a result of an agreement under which Hadiac Pty Ltd, trustee of the Jones Family Trust, becomes entitled to be paid a dividend interest exceeding fifteen per cent in Macquarie Radio Network Pty Ltd.

Harbour Radio Pty Ltd (the licensee company of 2GB Sydney) and Radio 2CH Pty Ltd (licensee of 2CH Sydney) are both wholly owned subsidiaries of Macquarie Radio Network Pty Ltd.

In accordance with the statutory role of the ABA to monitor the broadcasting industry, and in order to be properly informed, the ABA will investigate the relevant aspects of the ownership and control of 2GB and 2CH.”

Speaking to radioinfo earlier in the week, 2GB CEO George Buschman said:

”We believe we are complying and the ABA is OK with that, but now we have another new …allegation which has to be dealt with… The ABA contacted us last night asking for more documentation, which we are complying with… We have nothing to hide, but it is appropriate that if these details become public it goes through the formal ABA enquiry process first.

On air this week Jones defended himself against David Marr’s Media Watch comments saying:

“I’m utterly sick of this and I rarely talk about myself and I normally let this stuff go by. I have no sponsorship delas – What more can I say? What defence is available when these lies are continually told…”