Time to hang up the headphones


After seven years with Oamaru Heritage Radio, breakfast show host Ron Harris has decided to call it a day.
He signed off for the last time on Thursday morning last week, much to the dismay of the many listeners who called him during his final shift to thank him for keeping them company.
For six of his seven years at the station, Mr Harris hosted the breakfast show from Monday to Friday, between 5am and 9am –¬†which meant he was up at 4am each of those days.
Before he moved to Oamaru a decade ago, he was involved with Palmerston’s Puketapu Radio, which, along with Radio Twizel, carries Oamaru Heritage Radio’s breakfast show.
“I started radio in Palmerston. I was there for 10 years. They were starting up a radio station; you go down and have a look and then they drag you right into it, don’t they?
“Then we moved to Oamaru. I did a Sunday night programme, then started on the mornings.”
As well as being able to play a range of music for people to enjoy, Mr Harris said the aspect he enjoyed most about his time with Heritage Radio was chatting with the listeners.
“I think meeting people and interacting. We have a brainteaser question and there have probably been 50 calls this morning,” he said last week.
“In my seven years, I have given away at least $20,000 worth of [Oamaru Opera House] show prizes, DVDs and CDs … I estimated about 300 seats I’ve given away, that’s probably half the opera house.”
He said he would miss his co-workers and the thrill of being on air.
“Once you get radio in your blood, it’s in your blood the whole time. You can’t get it out of you.”
However, there was one aspect of his job he was happy to put to one side.
“I won’t miss getting up in the morning – it’s my turn to have a lie-in.”
A “very special” highlight of Mr Harris’ radio career was interviewing former Prime Minister Helen Clark on Christmas Eve during the first year of her first term.
Another memory was walking “in socks” from his home to the station’s Itchen St studio one snowy winter morning.
Mr Harris will now concentrate on his job as facilities support officer at the Oamaru Opera House.
He said the demands of juggling that job and radio work had become too heavy.
“I think doing the volunteer work has just got too much. It’s just time to move on,” he said.
Margaret White, who hosts two shows a week, said she would miss having Mr Harris around.
“He’s been good to work with . . . he’s a lot of fun and the listeners absolutely love him.
“A lot of older people listen and they like something of continuity and he’s been that continuity for them over the years.”
Oamaru Heritage Radio broadcasts on 88.3FM and 107FM.Sportswear DesignAsics Onitsuka Tiger