Biggest Name so far continues 2GB Exodus

2GB General Manager and Sales’ chief, Louise Barrett, will leave the troubled top rating station, continuing a wave of resignations in the past month.

Barrett will be joined in her exit by another high profile executive, Agency Sales’ Manager, Chris Thornton.

Both have announced their intention to leave in a memo, sent last evening to 2GB staff.

In the memo, it is stated that Barrett “… is intending to pursue other interests after 15 years working with Alan Jones, Ray Hadley and John Brennan at both 2GB and 2UE”.

It is understood Chief Executive, Angela Clark, will take over both key agency sales positions – at least in the interim.

Despite Alan Jones telling The Daily Telegraph’s Sydney Confidential earlier this week that 10 staff resignations in three weeks are normal turnover, rank and file staff members who wish to remain anonymous have told radioinfo that for the first time in their careers, they are not enjoying coming to work.

One source told radioinfo that after each survey, there would usually be a staff meeting to announce the results. No such meeting was held after Survey 7 despite retaining the #1 position. Only a memo was circulated.

Jones was quoted as saying, “I can tell you it’s business as usual. We’re working like nothing on earth. “

Our source agreed with that statement, telling radioinfo: “Staff worked on the Olympics up to 20 days straight and up to 18 hours a day without any time off in lieu. Those who were exhausted and needed a few days off were forced to use up their holiday entitlements.”

Ray Hadley took the unusual step of interviewing staff on air, with everyone stating they are very satisfied with their jobs. Yet, our sources have told us that morale has “never been lower”, mainly because, “the place is no longer run by radio people. They don’t talk to the staff. They don’t look after staff.

“The place went wrong when they got rid of George Buschman. He may not have been the accountants’ friend, but he was a radio person and he had got 2GB from nowhere to #1”, says the source.

Jones said: “Yes, there has been a change of management and, when there is a change in management, I guess there’s always a change in attitudes, approaches and personnel.”

Hadley’s verbal bullying of a news staff member is also still the subject of corridor chatter, despite Hadley’s apology.

In another incident, a mysterious sticker briefly appeared in the foyer of the 2GB building, bearing the message: “I work at 2GB and I’m happy!” Staff are not sure if the sticker is meant to be satirical or serious.

The ongoing tension and its media coverage has ramifications for John Singleton’s proposed float of 2GB/2CH next year.

In earlier resignations, IT Manager, Ben Heitbrink, quit last week, senior sales’ executives, Darryl Durant and Daniel Hughes, have resigned in recent weeks, along with Fiona Bowden from production.

After the resignation of three newsroom staff and Canberra bureau reporter, Sarah Farrell, Ray Hadley’s personal assistant and weekend producer, Jane Gordon will also leave to pursue other interests.

According to an earlier report, the dissent and tension have been fuelled by 2UE’s climb back up the ratings’ ladder this year. With 2UE’s return, 2GB’s monopoly of the talk based advertising dollar is no longer assured, in the face of high overheads.

See below for John Singleton’s memo announcing the planned public float of the station.