First Piccadilly Radio programmer Colin Walters has died
Colin started his radio as a Producer Presenter in the late 60s on the newly launched BBC Radio Nottingham. In 1970 he became Deputy Manager and by 1972 was Manager.
When commercial radio started in 1973, he famously wrote to all his staff warning of the dire consequences should anyone be as foolish as to apply for a position at the likes of Radio Clyde or Capital Radio. Shortly afterwards in 1974, he was appointed to the job of Programme Controller at Piccadilly Radio in Manchester – where he remained till the station was bought-out in 1989.
John Evington, who Colin hired at Piccadilly, pays tribute: “Colin was one of the legendary characters in the early days of commercial radio, famous for taking risks and giving new broadcasters their first break – myself included.
“So many of today’s famous names in media started out on Colin’s watch and I’m sure the tributes will flow. My thoughts are with Petrina and Colin’s close friends and family.”
Since leaving Piccadilly in 1989 Colin worked as a consultant in the radio industry before retiring in 2002.
Editor-in-Chief of Bauer Radio News, John Pickford tweeted: “Really sad to hear that Colin Walters my first Programme Controller at Piccadilly Radio (now Hits Radio) has died. He was a talented and inspirational leader and put commercial radio in Manchester firmly on the map.”
Former Piccadilly Radio presenter James H Reeve said: “This might mean something to someone: Colin Walters, the first Programme Controller of Piccadilly Radio, in 1974, died yesterday. I owe him a great deal.” Reflecting today on the passing of my first radio boss. Colin Walters: a man from whom I learned so much. He believed in me & many others when I was ridiculously young and inexperienced. He’s the reason that Piccadilly Radio was such an inspiring place.
— Simon Cole
Sad and reflective today upon hearing Colin Walters has died. Colin, along with @JohntheManEd hired me to present the Midday show at KEY 103FM Manchester (Now HITS)
I remember Colin as a clever radio guy, jovial and supportive.
Condolences to Colin’s family and friends
— Adrian Bell
Sorry to hear of the death of founder Piccadilly Radio Programme Controller, #ColinWalters. He gave me my first proper radio job in 1974, and when I reminded of it some years later, his reply was “well, if I hadn’t someone else would have”. Which is not necessarily true.
— Jeff Cooper
So sorry to learn of the death of Colin Walters. In a merger in the 80s, I was due to replace Colin in Manchester whilst he ran the enlarged company from London. Instead, Owen Oyston bought Piccadilly. Colin was a great guy. One of the very best. RIP Colin.
— Stuart Linnell MBE
Local radio in Manchester in 1981. Piccadilly v BBC Radio Manchester. Colin Walters v Allan Shaw. Guardian article 20 Nov 81 by Robin Thornber
— Andy Walmsley
Sorry to hear of the passing of Colin Walters. He, quite rightly, turned me down for a journalist job at Piccadilly Radio when I failed a local knowledge test. Worked with him much later on radio applications and he was a true gentleman.
— Mark Flanagan
I’m extremely saddened to hear of the passing of radio programmer Colin Walters. Had the great pleasure of sitting and chatting to him in Manchester in the early 90s. When I think of just a true radio person, he was one. RIP Colin.
— David Baker
Sad to hear about the death of Colin Walters. Piccadilly Radio means the world to me and he was an enormous part of it (understatement). His contribution to life in Manchester shouldn’t be undervalued.
— Simon Green
Sad news today that Colin Walters has died. Colin was Programme Director at Piccadilly Radio in Manchester. He gave me my 1st show on the radio, I was 16, I will always be forever grateful. Colin was an original radio genius who inspired many. Thank you, Colin, for giving me a chance X — Steve Penk (@StevePenk)
Really sad to hear that Colin Walters my first Programme Controller at Piccadilly Radio (now Hits Radio) has died. He was a talented and inspirational leader and put commercial radio in Manchester firmly on the map.
— John Pickford
This might mean something to someone: Colin Walters, the first Programme Controller of Piccadilly Radio, in 1974, died yesterday. I owe him a great deal.
— James H Reeve
Sad to hear the news of the death of Colin Walters – one of the legendary characters in the early days of commercial radio. As Piccadilly Radio PC he was famous for giving new broadcasters their first break – myself included.
My thoughts are with Colin’s close friends and family
— John Evington