Australia Day Honours for radio identities: Janet Cameron, Tim Holt and others

Janet Cameron, of Grant Broadcasters, has been awarded the Order of Australia Medal in this year’s Australia Day honours list for services to the radio industry.

The citation mentions the following, which only goes a small way to listing Janet Cameron’s many contributions to our industry:

  • Federation of Australian Radio Broadcasters (now Commercial Radio Australia): President 1986-1987,Senior Vice-President (Country) 1982-1983, Federal Council Member, 1981-1995, Former Member, Education and Training Committee, Engineering Committee.
  • President, Australian Association of Independent Regional Radio Broadcasters from 1999-2000.
  • Grant Broadcasters (over 50 regional radio stations): Proprietor, since 1970, Managing Director, since 1972.
  • Inductee, Commercial Radio Hall of Fame, 2002

In a detailed 3 part profile published by radioinfo last year, we told Janet’s life story, up to now. Janet Grant was born in 1938 only child of Christina and Walter Grant.

Grant Broadcasters was founded by her father who had been a broadcast technician for 2KY Sydney, 2KA Katoomba and 2LT Lithgow before setting up a partnership with an old vaudevillian, Eddie Williams to purchase 2BS, Bathurst and then 2DU in Dubbo which he ended up owning outright.

All this happened in the middle of World War II. 2DU was losing money because it was low powered (only 200 watts). In those days, before television, radio rate cards were determined by transmitter power. And because 2DU’s power was low, its advertising rates were also low which meant the station couldn’t attract the popular nationally syndicated shows of the day such as Jack Davies and Bob Dyer’s Pick a Box.

“I recall many, many conversations around the dinner table, with my father’s frustration of having to go to the control board and trying to get an increase in power… All I ever wanted to do when I was a kid was work at the radio station,” she recalls. “Dad would go down and do the second mail after dinner every night and if there were birthday calls, I would write out the birthday calls. 

Janet decided she needed a “proper” job and enrolled in teachers college and then taught high school commerce and business for five years before she was married. “And then I was at home for 10 years with Mum – she took over (the radio) after dad’s death.” Read the full profile here.

Former ABC Radio South East presenter Tim Holt (pictured) also received Order of Australia honours this Australia Day. 

Bega’s Tim Holt has been awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia, and first came to the Bega Valley in 1971 at the age of 17 – just after the February flood that washed away the new bridge at the mouth of the Bega River at Tathra.

He came to work for the local commercial station, after dreaming of a career in radio having listened to Ian MacRae and Ward ‘Pally’ Austin, two of the stars of Sydney radio in the 60s.

In 1974, he moved to Cooma and radio 2XL. However two years later he was back in Bega. 

Tim’s had a few breaks from radio over the years – working as a concreter, foreman for the Department of Public Works, barman, and owner of a motor cycle shop.

He joined the ABC Radio South East as the Saturday Breakfast Presenter in 1996, moving onto Weekday Morning Producer a year later. 

After 35 years working in radio, including 19 years with the ABC, Holt retired from the ABC in 2015. 

“I cried, I couldn’t believe it,” 66-year-old Holt told Bega District News after hearing of his nomination.

“I just find it surreal, because I was just doing what I loved, I was able to bring stories to people about community that are important and life changing.”

Holt also has an interest in social and political issues, and is a member of the Bega Valley Advocates for Timor Leste.


Other recipients are:

Mel Mayer has been awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for service to the community of Coolamon, and to radio broadcast production.

Mel started out as a sound effects man with one of the first radio studios to produce soap operas.

Mel was involved with the production of many advertisements, many of which were familiar to older members of the audience (the most famous of which was an advert for Aeroplane Jelly).

He got to rub elbows with many well-known artists over the years, notably singers such as Frankie Lane and Mitch Miller

Most people know Mel for his activities in providing the sound system and music at local events in Coolamon, and Mel is known for his insights into the evolution of recording media over the decades, ranging from wax cylinders through 45 and LP records, 8-track and cassette tapes, and mini-discs and compact discs.

More recently, Mel has worked compiling recordings for SONY after 50 years in the business.


Radio and TV Presenter Tracey Spicer also received an AM for significant service to the broadcast media as a journalist and television presenter, and as an ambassador for social welfare and charitable groups, as well as a presenter on 2UE. She is the co-founder and national convenor of Women in Media, a mentoring and networking program, backed by the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance. See Tracey’s professional profile here.



Others honoured for activities including radio are:

Dr Carlos de LEMOS, Hawthorn East, for service to the Portuguese community of Victoria including founding the Portuguese Program on 2EA in 1976.
Lieutenant Colonel Philip Gavan BADCOCK (Retd), Burradoo, NSW, for service to veterans and their families, including presenting the breakfast program, 2 days a week on Highland FM Community Radio, since 2003.
Mr Kenneth William BOCK, Carlingford, NSW, for service to the community, including Volunteer Announcer and Presenter at Radio 2RPH, for over 20 years.
Mrs Ann Rosalie BRAY, Greensborough, Vic, a foundation Member of Yarra Valley FM Radio from 1995.
ABC Gardening presenters; ABC 666 Canberra’s Ian FRASER, and ABC 702 Sydney’s Judy Horton.
Mr Charles Nicholas MIFSUD, Burraneer, NSW, for service to the Maltese community, including as presenter of the Maltese program on 2SER FM.
Dr Fred Nickolas NASSER, Strathfield, NSW, presenter on Sydney ethnic community station 2000 FM.

Father Francis Xavier ‘Frank’ SHEEHAN, Nedlands, WA, for service to the Anglican Church of Australia, and to the community, including as a Producer, ABC Radio National between  1989-1997 and a regular contributor to the Sunday Night religious program on RN.



Congratulations to those radio people and all recipients of Australia Day honours.

Did we miss anyone? If so, please let us know at [email protected] or in the comments box below.

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