Ben Harlum scores senior New York-based producer role with SiriusXM Hits 1
Australia has long been the ‘flavour of the month’ in the US. They’ve made a name for themselves in Hollywood and have been steadily moving into other areas of entertainment and media, including radio.
Ben Harlum is the latest to try his luck in the US, landing a senior producer role with the Morning Mash Up on SiriusXM Hits 1 in New York.
Prior to his move to the US, Harlum worked with Fitzy and Wippa on Nova and Kyle and Jackie O. His radio career began at 2DayFM.
A Skype interview last year prompted Harlum to take a punt and jump on a plane for the Big Apple.
“I’ve always wanted to work in the US and felt I had the right experience with the right shows in Australia to make that a possibility. So, I took a risk and flew to New York to meet in person.
“I was supposed to have a 30-minute meeting but ended up spending the entire week sitting in on the Morning Mash Up, as well as meeting various execs and programmers at SiriusXM.
“They decided I was the right person to take the brekky show to the next level and offered me the role.”
The show has been on-air for 12 years and is one of the most listened to morning shows on SiriusXM with tens of millions of listeners across North America.
Given its scope, Harlum acknowledges it’s needed a different skill set than those utilised on an Aussie radio show.
“The show is broadcast live across the U.S. and Canada so you almost have to forget anything you’ve learnt about producing a local breakfast show. Instead, you have to make sure the content is as broad and accessible as possible.
“There are also no commercials, news or client integration; just music and content which is really refreshing. Plus we don’t do any stitch-ups so I do feel much safer around the office.”
Having made the move just months ago, Harlum says landing the dream job has made it easier to adapt to the hustle and bustle of NYC.
“I live next door to the Empire State Building and work across the road from Rockefeller Center, so it’s just as exciting as you’d expect.
“The access to guests is much less of a challenge than compared to back home – a celebrity promoting a movie will do the U.S. Today Show and then cross the road to our studios to do an interview with us.
“It’s always nice when the likes of Catherine Zeta-Jones and Chris Hemsworth visit your studio instead of a junket.”
As for the future, it could be a while before we see Harlum back in Australia.