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Alan Jones Occupation: broadcaster

If you think interviewing Alan Jones would be slightly intimidating, you're wrong. It's very intimidating.

Normally in interviews—particularly the ones conducted by the king of the airwaves himself—the interrogator is seen as the attacker.

Even when he's being interrogated, Jones seems unable to get off the offensive. It quickly becomes clear that he is unsure why

the interview has been scheduled. Then, after a glance at my notepad, he says: 'And you've got too many questions there. I won't be answering all of those, but away you go.'

A question seeking his opinion of ABC-TV's Media Watch elicits the response: 'I don't think about it. I don't watch it. Like most Australians.' As to whether Jones, like fellow talk radio star John Laws, sees himself as being outside any code of ethics because he's a broadcaster rather than a journalist: 'I'm not a journalist. Nooo. Never.' But there is some safe ground, such as the remarkable career that, from a late start in radio at forty-four, brought him to his present apogee of wealth and influence.

Born in 1941 and raised on a dairy farm in rural Queensland, Jones remembers 'drought and poverty.

It was terrible,' he says. 'Heat and dry, and cattle dropping dead.' His mother was a teacher for the deaf and blind, and he would eventually teach too. 'She had very high ideals about teaching as a vocation, and I suppose she persuaded me. But coming from where we were, I wasn't exposed to many vocational choices,' he says. Jones was sent to boarding school at thirteen, but says that doesn't mean his family was wealthy. 'I went to a private school because there were no other schools, and my parents gave up everything so I could do that, and died never having had a holiday in their lives.'

The transition from boarding-school student to teacher was smooth, and in 1970 Jones was poached from Brisbane Grammar by the King's School in Sydney, where he became an extremely successful rugby coach.

Five years later Jones was asked to leave the school under something of a cloud but, typically, he doesn't see it that way. 'I don't think I ever intended to be a teacher all my life. I soon saw that there was a bit of a ceiling there—you could only go so far. At King's I had in fact taught the son of the Deputy Prime Minister, Doug Anthony, and that's how my movement into politics occurred,' he explains. 'Three times I've been a candidate for parliament, and they were sensible enough to reject me.'

He may not have been elected but he was noticed, and in 1979 he was hired by Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser as a speech writer. 'Fraser was a very loyal Australian. Obviously we would have had our differences, but I don't ever talk publicly about them,' Jones says. The work was 'night and day, with no sleep', but was it making him a millionaire? 'A what? Oh, come off it,' he snaps. 'What makes you think I'm a millionaire now?' (An attempt to interject something about his rumoured $5 million-a-year salary is met with a disbelieving snort before he powers on.) 'I was on $42,000 a year. And Malcolm Fraser was always borrowing money. He never had any on him, and he'd always be asking me for $50, and I didn't have any money to my name. I remember once he paid me back—$12.80 it was, and I kept that cheque. One day it'll be an auction item.'

From 1981 to 1985 Jones remained a non- millionaire, working as executive director of the Employers' Federation of New South Wales. His side job, as coach of the Wallabies national rugby team, paid nothing at all. Jones is voluble on what makes him a great leader of men: 'I think I can say, modestly, that my teams mostly won. If I've got any ability it is that I can get the best out of people. And I can get people to go beyond what they think they're capable of.'

In 1985, out of the blue, 'without ever having been in a radio station', Jones was offered a job at 2UE. 'Program director John Brennan said, "I think you should be on radio"—and it all took off at a cracking pace,' he says.

A deal was struck on the back of a serviette at a Chinese restaurant, and while Jones won't say what numbers were written on the napkin, he was soon after more. 'David Maxwell [the then general manager of 2UE] started talking about ratings, and

I said nothing because I had no idea what they were,' he says. 'So I raced out to John Brennan and asked what these ratings were all about. I said that I can't even have an intelligent conversation unless I know what's this ratings stuff.'

By the next meeting, Jones was ready. When he was told that his ratings were 'terrible, only twos or threes', he asked what would be considered good. 'Maxwell said: "If you got ten, I'd die and go to heaven." And I said, what incentive is there to get ten? And he said: "Listen, if you get ten by the end of the year, I'll give you a $100,000 bonus" I'd never seen $100,000 in my life. I'd never seen anything with six figures in it. And we got to 10.2 in the second-last survey, and they came and gave me this cheque. It was quite something.'

The next payment that blew Jones's mind was so big he felt compelled to record it. 'It was when I came to 2GB from 2UE [in 2002]. The deal was that I'd get some of the money up front, and I photocopied the cheque.' So, were there six zeroes on it? 'Oh, my God, no. There were six digits, but not six zeroes. Oh, no!' he says. 'I also photocopied the cheque I got for the Golden Slipper [won by his horse, Miss Finland] because I couldn't believe the Sydney Turf Club was writing a cheque to me for that amount of money. I think it was $3 million.' Though Jones professes surprise that he's perceived as a millionaire, it seems safe to deduce that he passed that mark somewhere between the start of his radio career and 2002.

Jones also struggles to remember the first extravagant thing he ever bought: 'I have no idea,' he says. 'No. I think I

most probably sent ^ I've never been one for my father to the extravagance. I don't need 1.

Melbourne Cup. He the best Phone or to be

always wanted to go. I always thought if I

at opening nights in black tie. I hate black tie. I get criticised because I spend

had money I would all my money on other send him and gave people. I think I give a bit him the real royal too much away. } treatment.' He himself has pretty modest tastes, he says: 'I've never been one for extravagance. I don't need the best phone or to be at opening nights in black tie. I hate black tie. I get criticised because I spend all my money on other people. I think I give a bit too much away. But I say to people, none of these things is worth two bob unless you share them. The only thing that gives you any pleasure is sharing. I've got a lovely place down in the Southern Highlands, but the greatest satisfaction I get is when others are sitting in front of the

fire having a drink and I know they could never afford to be there [on their own account], but they're loving it.'

Jones believes there are three things that make a man feel rich: 'If you can drink whisky out of a crystal glass, you've got an air-conditioned room, and you've got a housekeeper to help you with all that drudgery, you're a millionaire,' he says. 'So that makes me a millionaire.'

What he makes strenuously clear is that he's earned everything he has. A self-confessed workaholic, he gets up at 2.30 a.m. every day and never, ever gets even five hours' sleep a night.

С If you can drink whisky out of a crystal glass, you've got an air- conditioned room, and you've got a housekeeper to help you with all that drudgery, you're a millionaire. So that makes me a millionaire.

'Whatever money I've got, I've rolled up my sleeves. I've got up at two o'clock and I've put the light on before anyone else, and I turn it off after anyone else,' he says. 'There are no shortcuts in this sort of stuff. All this talk of luck is nonsense. You've got to make your own luck.'

So, after what could be described as a colourful career in radio, does he have any regrets? 'Look, I don't live in the past,' he fumes. 'We all,

in life, have ups and downs, and who am I to live in regret? There are people out there who can't walk, who can't see, who can't hear, who can't talk, who've never been to a restaurant, who've never got a passport. Who are we to be living in regret? We're very fortunate. Very privileged.'

Stephen Corby

golden rules

Don't expect others to do what you should do for yourself.

The only thing you get without hard work is failure.

Enjoy things—successful people are those who enjoy themselves.

Be decisive. People fail because they're wishy- washy. Stand for something.

Share. If all of the above produces anything, share it.

A Cut And Dried Success

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Источник: Nick Gardner. How. I made-.my first million. 26 self-made millionaires reveal the secrets to their success. 2010

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