Behind the mic with Ben Hannant

Get it’s Kathleen Loxton chats to Ben Hannant, NRL legend and 90.9 Sea FM’s beloved breakfast host, about family and life in the fast lane

Kathleen: I hear that you are expecting your eighth child; in December I believe? Congratulations.

Ben: Yes, Christmas Eve! Which will be pretty cool. It’s the perfect time for the perfect present.

K: And what a present! It must be such a special time of the year for the family.

B: Christmas day is fantastic, Christmas Eve is chaotic, but all is worth the reward. It’s a fantastic time of the year. All of our babies have been born a lot earlier in the year, so this will be something different, for my wife and me – we’re super excited.

K: What do you love the most about being a dad?

B: I just love the whole process of growing up with your kids; I still feel like a young dad. The joy I get out of life is not just me doing something special, it’s seeing the kids learning and growing, and achieving things at school… that gives me a lot of satisfaction.

K: How did you get started at 90.9 Sea FM?

B: I was playing footie at the time with the North Queensland Cowboys, going in one day a week and doing the wrap-up of the game for the weekend.Then I got a phone call from one of the big bosses at Southern Cross Austereo, and he asked me if I was interested in doing a trial. I went to Brisbane, did the trial and went back to North Queensland, signed the contract to keep playing and SeaFM offered me the job. That’s when I had to decide: do I keep playing footie or do I go back home to the Gold Coast and take up the radio show? My body has taken a fair bashing from playing footie, and I’m born and bred in the Gold Coast, so the wife was happy and excited to come back home for us to raise our family.

K: How did you and your wife meet?

B: She’s originally from Sydney, but she moved to the Gold Coast when she was 14. We met straight away and became best friends, then we started dating at 16 and we’ve never looked back since.

I grew up in a big family myself, so one thing my parents taught me was how to work.

K: What’s one life lesson you always carry with you?

B: I grew up in a big family myself, so one thing my parents taught me was how to work. We always believed that if we knew how to work, we’d be okay and be able to provide for a family one day. That work ethic is something that has really helped me out with my football career, and then at the station as well. If you’re willing to work hard anything is possible.

K: I also wanted to ask about your charity projects. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

B: Yes, the cycling one was called Biking for Bec. It was for a young lady on the coast, who is a mother of three, she lost one of her children – they have two young boys as well – and she’s struggling with brain cancer. We wanted to help her and her family as much as we could. I’m not very good at doing too much other than physical challenges, so I decided to get on my bike and ride non-stop for 24 hours. It was an incredible experience, and the Gold Coast really got behind us… the support was outstanding, and we raised a lot of money. The biggest and best thing is that here in the Gold Coast people really genuinely care; they’re there for each other and you’re not alone… there’s always people there that want to help you when you’re at your lowest low, which is a fantastic thing to see.

K: That is incredible. I know you’ve also tried 24 jobs in 24 hours?

B: Yes, it came about because I’ve never had a “real job” before. When that came to light that’s when this was decided; so, 24 hours, 24 jobs and no sleep. We spent 45 minutes at each job, then had 15 minutes travel time. It was a great experience – I had to do things from labouring to childcare, to reading the news. What I noticed is how many people are really passionate about their jobs and like what they do. That’s the reason why our city is so successful, because so many people take pride in what they do.

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