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Veteran Orange radio DJ Gordon McMillan, 89, died this week. He leaves a big hole in the schedule

August 26, 2023

Gordon McMillan at FM 107.5. Supplied.

By Peter Holmes

If it takes some sort of ego to host a radio program, it was barely perceptible with Gordon McMillan, the 89-year-old DJ at FM 107.5 who died this week.

McMillan had been in radio - professional and amateur - for more than 50 years, and was fondly regarded by many at FM 107.5, Orange's community radio broadcaster.

A slight and quietly spoken man, McMillan hosted morning and afternoon programs at FM 107.5.

As the years rolled by volunteers worried about him getting up and down the steep stairs at the radio station on Kite Street, but he managed it.

On air, McMillan didn't waste his words.

He didn't waffle or bang on or express many opinions. His show was about playing music, back announcing the music, reading some community service announcements, noting the time and updating the weather. The music was the star.

Whenever I was able to listen to McMillan's show, which was not so much in the last couple of years, I generally (but not always) loved the random nature of the music he played. There was absolutely nothing else like it.

As a former volunteer, I had seen how the sausage was made, and McMillan's sometimes outrageously eclectic playlist had little to do with him being some type of musical savant or tastemaker.

No, it was just what he happened to grab from the music library in the lead up to his show. As far as I could tell there was no logic to it, which is what made it so great. It was a lottery, a lucky dip.

McMillan could move from a local Central West artist to an indie band from the 1990s to a recent pop hit without breaking a sweat, and at the end he'd back announce the songs and the artists as if there was nothing more normal than them being played together.

It was the sort of brazen disregard for research and demographics and blah blah blah that would give a commercial radio boss a deep and lasting migraine.

McMillan had worked previously in commercial radio and at the ABC in NSW and Queensland.

A statement sent to members of the radio station described McMillan as a "longtime, much loved and respected member".

McMillan was found at home by FM 107.5 volunteers after not turning up for a radio shift.

At the time of writing no funeral details had been published.

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