Stephen “The Ghost” Walker, a longtime fixture of Melbourne community station Triple R, passed away yesterday after a battle with cancer.
Walker served 14 years as Program Manager at the station, and was a presenter for 37 years with shows such as Skull Cave, From The Bunker, Survival Talkback and Ghost In The Machine. In particular, Skull Cave was a popular weekly program, which Walker handed the reins over to Woody McDonald in 2018.
Walker’s first ever broadcast was a late-night shift in 1981. “I started off with Cabaret Voltaire’s Voice of America album and I finished off with Pere Ubu’s Modern Dance album and all the journey that it took in between,” Walker once reflected in an interview with The Age. “So that was the way the twig was already bent back then.”
Walker was the first radio presenter to ever be inducted into The Age Music Victoria Awards Hall of Fame, an honour he received in 2011 for his contribution to Melbourne culture. In 2011, to celebrate his then 30 years on Triple R, the likes of Nick Cave with the Dirty Three, Gareth Liddiard and Dan Luscombe from the Drones and more banded together to fundraise for medical treatment Walker required for MS.
“His on-air presence was something truly special,” commented Triple R in a statement posted this morning, remarking that he was “instrumental” in shaping the station’s sound during the late 80’s and 90’s, and noting frequent comparisons to John Peel that Walker received.
“Beyond his many contributions on air, we’ll miss Stephen’s wise words, his cheeky ability to shock, his heart-felt support for and interest in all things Triple R, his incredible vision and deeply philosophical nature. We celebrate Stephen’s contribution to Triple R, Melbourne underground culture, music and community broadcasting.”
You can head here for a selection of Skull Cave highlights, including a long-form interview with Patti Smith back in 2008.