Radioman Colin Cameron has died at the age of 87. In 2010 he finally retired at the age of 73. He was then the station manager of 6WR “The Voice of the East Kimberley”, Western Australia’s oldest indigenous radio station.
He died of pulmonary fibrosis caused by passive smoking throughout the many years of exposure when it was acceptable to smoke in offices in Australia. The irony is that Colin has been a non-smoker all of his life.
In a 2023 story in The Lismore App they reported that Colin was born in Orange, served as an office boy at 2GZ Orange and entered radio as an announcer in 1953 at 2MG Mudgee after winning a guest announcing on Sydney 2UE’s ‘Rumpus Room’ and 2GB’s ‘Teen Time’ competitions at the young age of 17.
A career in radio can often lead to a lot of travel throughout regional Australia and that was definitely the case for Colin as he had stints in Dubbo, Sydney (in Sales), Longreach (Queensland) as Australia’s youngest manager at 23, Warragul (Victoria), Penrith (Sydney’s West) and Kununurra in Western Australia’s north.
Colin had a dream to not just work in radio but to own a radio station. Colin’s dream took 22 years to come to fruition.
“A friend of mine said Colin, on your way home from Penrith tonight how about you call into my office and have a coffee with me? When I arrived, he said are you satisfied with what you have achieved in radio? I said yes except I want to buy my own radio station. And he said, well when you get home tonight ring this number and you might get a pleasant surprise. So I got home as quickly as I could and I spoke to an executive by the name of David Cole. He said Colin, we’ve got two radio stations for sale, are you interested in one of them? I said no, I’ll buy both.”
“That’s when I started telling people, don’t tell me it’s impossible until after I’ve already done it.”
“People laughed at me for buying the stations and said to me ‘you’ll you’ll go under we’ll just sit back and wait’.”
That didn’t happen, instead, Colin executed his radio motto “To be successful, you have to be different” and made sure his radio stations were an integral part of the community and then every community where Colin went on to own radio stations.
“I was very active in the community, and a radio station has to be part of that community to get the support, advertising support and for people to realise that, okay, that’s the station where we need our news and community service announcements and so forth.”
There was one station that I ended up owning and that was 3CV in Bendigo. The transmitter was located halfway between Ballarat and Bendigo. And nobody, over probably eight years, was able to get that station to be part of the community. So I was offered the opportunity of buying it and turned it into a very highly successful station.”
Colin was about to retire in his early 70s but received a call from the National Indigenous Satellite News Service.
“They said could you come and help us get a bit more advertising and things like that so I did that for about a year and a half before retiring on my 75th birthday.”
Colin and Iris have been living in Goonellabah for 12 years now after buying a house to be near Colin’s parents and sister. Unfortunately, both had passed away before he and Iris settled in their Goonellabah home.
After a 58 year career in radio Colin Cameron has passed away. reportedly after a long battle with pulmonary fibrosis caused by passive smoking throughout many years of exposure when it was acceptable to smoke in offices in Australia. Mr Cameron, who was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) on Australia Day this year, told the Lismore App in an interview that day, that he had hopes of attending the official awards ceremony in May this year.
Colin and Iris have not lived a sedentary life in retirement with Colin driving for Hart Services for two years and working with the Lismore Base Hospital Auxillary raising much-needed funds.
He died of pulmonary fibrosis caused by passive smoking throughout the many years of exposure when it was okay to smoke in offices in Australia.
“We would have 60 to 70 people in a boardroom all smoking,” Colin said.
The irony is that Colin has been a non-smoker all of his life.