Ben Fordham steps back from radio until 2020 to spend time with ill father

2GB host Ben Fordham has stepped back from his drive-time show for the rest of the year, to spend time with his father who is battling throat cancer.

Fordham shared the news on-air with his listeners yesterday afternoon, explaining that yesterday or today’s show would be his last until next year. Nine, whose takeover of 2GB’s Macquarie Media is set to be completed by the end of the year, understands that Fordham will host this afternoon’s show.

Fordham and his father at last month’s ACRAs

“Today, I’ve got a bit of a challenge on my hands because my dad, who hasn’t been well for some time, has been told that his fight against throat cancer is not going to be continuing, which is a tough thing for him, and for our whole family,” Fordham said.

“And I’ve spent the day with him today and I’ve actually made a decision late yesterday that I’ll be wrapping up the radio show either at the end of today or tomorrow and that’ll be it for the year, so that I can spend some time with dad.”

John Fordham accompanied his son to the Australian Commercial Radio Awards last month, where Fordham won Best Talk Presenter.

“I was lucky enough, maybe a month or so ago, to take him to the radio awards in Brisbane, and he really wasn’t well enough to go, but he came anyway, and I went along, and he was there on the night to see me win a major award,” Fordham said.

“And to put him in the taxi and to go home with the trophy on his lap was a really special thing to do.

“Now, having seen how quickly he’s gone downhill in the space of three or four weeks, I realise how he really manned up on the night to come to Brisbane to be there for me.”

Fordham added that he “spoke to the bosses here at the radio station last night and I just said, ‘Look, I reckon I’m better served, for the rest of this year, to be with dad'”. It’s an opportunity to spend time with him, whether it’s “driving around there and having a cup of coffee, not that he’s drinking coffee at the moment, or reading the newspaper, or listening to the radio, or having a bit of a chat”.

“Today we’ve all been around at mum and dad’s place, and we’ve had one of those conversations that I suppose a lot of families have to have, just about what the future holds,” he said.

“He’s probably going to be shifting into hospital sometime this afternoon.”

His dad would be listening to the show though, Fordham noted, and in his honour, he played some of his favourite songs, and promoted the Head and Neck Cancer Foundation, which John Fordham established this year to fund research into the disease.

“Dad’s listening this afternoon … We love you, mate. And you know what I’m going to be doing this afternoon? I’m going to be playing some of your favourite music,” he said.

“And we’re also going to be focusing on the show and getting the job done, as we always do, but it’ll be a bit of a different show this afternoon. I’m going to be playing a few things that have already been recorded, prior to me going to air today, just because I know that that’ll help me through the show. And then it’ll be a case of working out whether today’s my last show, or tomorrow.

“If I’m not with you tomorrow, I’ll be back, bigger and better than ever in 2020.”

Nine added: “Everyone at Nine wishes Ben and his family all the best for this sad time.”

In the most recent GfK radio ratings survey, 2GB in Sydney had an 8.6% share in drive, which is measured as 4pm to 7pm. Fordham is on air from 3pm to 6pm, at which point Ross Greenwood takes over. Fordham also co-hosts Australian Ninja Warrior on Nine.


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