Longtime Peak-FM host to retire 0
Peak-FM host John Nichols retires after almost 42 years as the voice of the morning show. Emily Innes // Collingwood Enterprise-Bulletin
COLLINGWOOD — After almost 42 years behind the mic, Peak-FM morning host John Nichols announced his retirement.
When Nichols first moved to the area to start on what was then called CKCB AM 1400, he said he didn't expect to stay.
“When I got here, I found the fishing was good, the skiing was good, and the people were great and I dropped anchor.” said Nichols. “It's the best place in the world to live, it doesn't get any better than this.”
Nichols said he has a certain degree of reservation about retiring. Though, he said he is looking forward to having more time for his pastimes such as fishing, gardening, woodworking and volunteering, he will also “miss the early morning grind.”
Nichols said he might enjoy sleeping in as late as 6:30 a.m. For most people that would be an early morning, but not for Nichols who usually starts his day at 4 a.m. with breakfast and a 20-minute bike ride into the Collingwood station from his home in Nottawa.
Then from 6 until 9 a.m., “The Morning Flight with John Nichols” is broadcast on 95.1 FM throughout the region.
During the show Nichols broadcast live from events, covered sports, interviewed guests, promoted local charities, and played a variety of music.
Nichols said especially in the early 1970s, being a small market station with only about four or five employees he “had to wear a lot of hats.”
“We were pretty much required to do almost everything at the radio station including taking out the garbage, if you know what I mean,” he said.
In the early days of his career, Nichols particularly enjoyed covering Collingwood's junior B hockey team, which one year made it to the Ontario finals.
Another moment he noted was interviewing Canadian comedian, former CBC Ontario Morning host, Don Harron, best known as Charlie Farquharson.
“I don't think I even got a word in edgewise because he went on and on and he was so funny that I was laughing the whole time.”
Nichols said the biggest change throughout his years at the station has been the constant developments in technology – which has been challenging to continually adapt to.
He said the industry has changed because of computers and cell phones, which he said has pros and cons.
“From a sound point it has improved it dramatically, but the regrettable thing about it, it has cost a lot of jobs because older radio was more labour intense, but now with computers you've eliminated a lot of jobs,” said Nichols.
He started out working with 45s, then cassettes, then CDs, and now in the digital-era with MP3s.
“I don't think we have seen the end of it yet,” he said.
He said cell phones are making the world a smaller place and allowing people to do reports from anywhere. “The old days you had to try and strain out a telephone line just to make the connection.”
Nichols said he will miss getting to connect with people and being able to foster the efforts of charitable organizations.
He will be retiring on the Dec. 21, the day of the 32nd annual Christmas Draw, a fundraiser that Nichols established and which has raised more than $600,000 for the General and Marine Hospital.
Nichols said the person who he passes the mic to should be a positive and community-minded person, who can also get out of bed early.
He has committed to continue volunteering in the community .
“If people think I'm disappearing – I'm not.”