Ben Fordham has barely slept. He’s been in a delirious state of half-sleep for the past two weeks.

It was the Nine Radio station’s best ratings in more than a decade and Fordham’s best-ever result since taking the reins from Australian radio icon Alan Jones in May last year. His audience share of 18.1 per cent was up 3.3 points year-on-year.

Ben Fordham, after his first breakfast show at 2GB studio. Pyrmont. ( Louise Kennerley)

“To be honest, I hadn’t been to sleep when they came through, so I was in a bit of a daze when they were handed to me,” Fordham tells 9News.

“So, I was delirious from the busy work schedule when they come through, and I suppose I was even more delirious after that.

‘I’m blown away (by the ratings) because I just I just can’t believe how well everyone’s responded to what we’re doing.’

The 44-year-old is quick to point out his sudden dazed existence is self-inflicted – he’s juggling two high-profile jobs back-to-back.

“I’m filming Ninja Warrior at the moment. I’m filming Ninja Warrior all through the night and then going straight to breakfast radio in the morning,” he says.

“I’m blown away (by the ratings) because I just I just can’t believe how well everyone’s responded to what we’re doing.”

The former sports and political reporter says his tight knit team of producers are the key to why Ben Fordham Live has resonated with listeners.

“We work really hard at trying to come up with a show that’s informative and entertaining and give people a bit of a laugh on their way to work,” he says.

“I think it’s a bit like, to quote The Castle, it’s the vibe. I think we provide a vibe in the morning that gives people a sense that they know that it’s the place to be if you want to know what’s going on.

“We’ve got the key opinion makers and big names that are there to join us. But we also tell the little stories involving little people as well. We do a lot of hard work behind the scenes to help people out.”

Ms Berejiklian, a regular on Fordham’s show, had been blindsided by Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk about major changes to the Queensland border during one of NSW’s coronavirus outbreaks. It was Fordham who broke the news.

“Have you got the news yet?” Fordham asked Ms Berejiklian live on air.

Ben Fordham with wife Jodie Speers.
Ben Fordham with wife Jodie Speers. (Instagram)

After explaining she hadn’t, Fordham offered to give her the news.

“What do you know that I don’t?” she replied.

It was then Fordham explained the Queensland border would open to all of NSW in just days.

“Thanks for letting me know,” Ms Berejiklian said.

He says during the height of the coronavirus pandemic last year he and his team stepped in and rescued more than a dozen weddings.

“And we would then set ourselves the mission of getting it sorted, getting it fixed.

“I can’t think of the amount of people who called us during the pandemic and said, ‘Look, we’ve got a wedding this weekend and my brother’s trapped in Victoria and the health restrictions mean that he can’t come to the wedding’,” he says.

“And we would then set ourselves the mission of getting it sorted, getting it fixed.

“I think what we’ve done is we’ve provided a place for people to go when they need help and when they need something done because I think people know that we’re probably gonna move faster than their local MP.”

Fordham is on the phone in the backyard of his Sydney home, his son Freddy is bouncing on a trampoline in the background. They’ve just finished a celebratory family dinner, like his dad, Freddy had a win too.

“I’m just with my son,” Fordham says, before speaking past the phone.

“Freddy, Freddy, come over here for tick. Come over here. You gotta be serious.”

The voice of a cheery young child speaks into the phone. He shares the news that he’s moved up the charts in his classroom from ‘ready to learn’ to ‘good day’. It’s a proud moment.

“He’s in Year One,” Fordham says, as Freddy returns to his bouncing.

Fordham with son Freddy.
Fordham with son Freddy. (Instagram)

“And as I explained to him, we’ve had a good chart in our office today as well.”

Fordham pauses, thinking.

“It’s funny how these things, you know, the harder you work, the more luck you have,” he says.

“I had a bit of a feeling that we were going to go well, because I just keep getting feedback where I go that people are listening and they’re really engaging with what we’re doing.”

In a statement from Nine Radio head of content Greg Byrnes said this survey proves 2GB and 3AW in Melbourne are the “must listen” radio stations in their cities.

“We are way out in front as number one and the audiences are getting even bigger.” Mr Byrnes said in a statement.

“I think the trick is that Aussies by and large want to have a laugh”.

“More than 100,000 new listeners are turning in each week when compared to a year ago. Ben Fordham in Sydney and Ross and Russ in Melbourne have again recorded stunning results.”

“I think the trick is that Aussies by and large want to have a laugh. They want to have some funs. So, yes, we deal with the serious stuff,” he says.

Fordham sitting in on Alan Jones's broadcast at his Southern Highlands home in 2020
Fordham sitting in on Alan Jones’s broadcast at his Southern Highlands home in 2020 (Nine Radio)

“But then you’ve also got to look for the moments of laughter just to take a bit of a break.”

“Freddy just said the bright side,” he says. “So that’s it, you’ve got to find the bright side.”

“I’m lucky in that I’ve got a lot of support at home, and the kids are pretty understanding.”

For Fordham, the bright side of his cruelling working schedule is his family and the support they afford him.

“I’m lucky in that I’ve got a lot of support at home, and the kids are pretty understanding,” he says.

“I’ve had to get them out to the Ninja Warrior course so that they feel like they’re part of it. I thought that was important.”

For at least the next week, Fordham’s will continue to pile on the extra working hours of Nine’s hit television show Ninja Warrior.

It’s a schedule Nine bosses didn’t push onto Fordham, but one that he wanted. He’s been in training for a few months.

“I’ve been off the booze for two months because I knew that this work schedule was just gonna be… I just wanted to put myself in the best position, healthwise,” he says.

“I actually feel really good. I’ve, put a lot of effort into all the all the little things around the edges and I’ve met some really interesting people… I’m a bit of a magnet for health.”

Australian Ninja Warrior 2020 Rebecca Maddern Ben Fordham
Australian Ninja Warrior 2020 Rebecca Maddern Ben Fordham (Nine)

He jokes that while he doesn’t have a Pete Evans bio charger, he does engage in weekly therapies such as cupping and massages for he and wife Jodie “because our schedules are so crazy”.

“Channel Nine and 2GB both said, ‘mate, don’t do both because that’s crazy. So, they said ‘you don’t have to do Ninja if you don’t want this year because radio is more important’,” Fordham says.

“And I said ‘But I still want to do it’ and they went ‘alright, we’ll do it’. And then they went, ‘Alright, well, when you’re doing Ninja, you have the mornings off radio’ and I was like ‘but I still want to do radio’.

“So, I was like that that little girl on the taco ad, ‘why not just have both?’

“So, I think I’m going to just limp across the finish line… But you know what, when I get in there I feel alive. The great thing about radio is it’s this buzz and this connection with people.”

Nine Radio is owned by Nine Entertainment Co, the owner of

This content first appear on 9news

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