Despite having one of the largest profiles in Australia, Alan Jones has never allowed fame to go to his head.
The country’s number one broadcaster sat down with Councillor Angela Vithoulkas on her podcast ‘The Brew’ to discuss a myriad of topics. In between sharing his thoughts on the current landscape of politics, explaining why he considers himself a feminist and throwing jabs at Malcom Turnbull’s advisory circle, Jones shared his inspiring tale of how a would-be farmer became an unflinching advocate for the underdog.
A country boy who only ever dreamed of working on a farm, Jones’ rise to media notoriety was unexpected. When his father wouldn’t allow him to take up farming, instead ensuring he received a thorough education, he set his sights on teaching.
It was during his tenure as a school teacher that his storied career path began to take trajectory.
“I was a teacher and at one stage I taught the son of the deputy Prime Minister,” Jones said.
“And so, when speech day came, he was there. He came up and introduced himself to me. I said, ‘What on earth are you doing here? You’re so busy’, and he said, ‘I came here to meet you’.
“So subsequently he offered me a job, and I was always interested in politics so I then migrated from him to working for the Prime Minister.”
After finding that there was a limited in lifespan working in Canberra because “you virtually become a social outcast”, Jones took an offer to move back to Sydney working as the Executive Director of the New South Wales Employers’ Federation.
He would work there until he began his radio career in 1985, coaching the Wallabies to rugby union success as a side job.
It was after winning the grand slam with the Wallabies in 1984 that he was approached by John Brennan at 2UE.
Jones said Brennan told him, “Come and see me; I think you should be in radio”, and that “They offered me a contract in 1985 and here I am.”
The 76-year-old was an instant hit with working class Australians as he took on battles for them that no one else would. His approach to helping out the “little guy” has shaped his reputation.
“The media tend to use people for a story. They’ll make a great song and dance for one night, 35 seconds. There’s no follow up,” Jones explained.
“I’m a dog with the bone, I don’t let go on all of these issues. It takes a lot of energy and lot of work, but at the same time there’s a lot of satisfaction in knowing that people feel a sense of hope because of your involvement in the circumstances that they’re confronting.”
During his prestigious radio career, Jones has picked up some important life lessons.
“My mother told me the only thing you get without hard work is failure,” he said, adding, “When you set the bar high, there’s an expectation you maintain that standard.”
The values passed down from his parents still resonate with Jones today. He refuses to consider himself bigger than his fellow man.
“I’m not any more important than anyone else – once you start imagining you’re better than the next bloke then you’re betraying yourself and betraying your family and your values.”
You can listen to Alan Jones’ full interview here.