In June, Ben, 44, took on the unenviable task of replacing the polarising, but popular, Alan Jones. But he hasn’t always proven to be a hit with 2GB listeners.
With Ben at the helm, market share dropped from 17.9% in Alan’s final survey to 13.3 per cent in the most recent survey, with KIIS FM rivals Kyle Sandilands and Jackie ‘O’ Henderson surging 2.6 points to 15.5 per cent, winning the top spot earlier this year.
“The pressure is on Ben, and he knows it – plus, Karl swooping in wouldn’t make things any easier. Karl sees Ben’s job as a possible escape plan from the cutthroat world of brekkie TV,” explains the source.
Despite Karl’s dreams of taking over one day, he could face a battle convincing his Nine Network bosses.
Meanwhile, it’s believed Nine’s radio bigwig, Tom Malone, is in fact one of Ben’s best mates, with the pair formerly attending the same high school, Saint Ignatius’ College Riverview, in Sydney.
“There’s a running joke that 2GB has become ‘Radio Riverview’. Karl will never break that bond.”
Another ironic twist is said to be that because Ben is so favoured at the network, those in charge consider him “a frontrunner” to replace Karl, 47, on Today one day.
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“The truth is, Ben is rightly worried about the next radio survey – but, he’s been assured by everyone at Nine that they are backing him up and whatever happens, he will always have a primetime gig,” says the insider.
“Karl can see his radio dreams slipping away every day, so he’s also looking at other timeslots – but there’s not one opening available,” the source adds.
With rumours swirling that Ben’s 2GB colleague and former Today co-host, Deborah Knight, might be on the out, as her radio contract is set to expire, the source maintains Deb’s job has no interest for Karl.
“He wants the big bucks, and that’s Ben’s seat,” the source says, jokingly. “It’s Ben or bust at this stage!”
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