Former breakfast radio host David Collins loses battle with cancer

Former breakfast radio host David Collins has lost his battle with cancer.

KOFM released the sad news on Monday morning saying “he died peacefully last night, with his long-time friend Tanya Wilks by his side.”

The much-loved Hunter radio host was 60 years old when he died, after being diagnosed with cancer.

Tanya has since released this small statement on social media:

“I promised two things ... one that I would be there to the very end and two that I would make you into a meme. 

“Finally I get the last say ...miss you already you gorgeous bugger.”

The David and Tanya show was Australia's longest-running radio breakfast team.

Here is an interview from 2013, before the pair left the air:

WAVE GOODBYE: David and Tanya sign off

COLLINS and Wilks started together on air as an untried double act at 2HD in May 1991.

English-born Collins had been recruited from Sydney that year to replace the legendary Pat Barton in breakfast. Wilks was already working at 2HD then, having joined the station straight out of high school in the mid-1980s.

At first Collins flew solo in the wake-up shift. Conscious that he wasn’t a local, he soon roped in the Raymond Terrace-born-and-raised Wilks.

 David and Tanya.

David and Tanya.

They made No. 1 in breakfast in their first ratings survey together.

 “We’ve been blessed from the very beginning with chemistry,” Collins reflected this week. “Not many people are afforded that luxury especially when you’re working. But we got lucky. We understood each other pretty quickly even though we were very different people. But being different made it an interesting combination on  air.”

Adds Wilks: “The differences actually drove us crazy in the early stages. We didn’t immediately fall in love with each other, if you know what I mean.”

Collins: “But we knew which buttons to push with each other.”

The suggestion there may have been a romantic attraction in those formative days at 2HD brings howls of protest and a burst of the sort of verbal sparring that has long been their trademark.

Wilks: “Come on, David, you know you desired me in the early days.”

Collins: “As you did with me.”

Wilks: “Oh, please. James, do not quote him saying that! I can safely say I did not.”

Collins: “Of course, if I was going to make a move it would have to be between marriages. Like an athlete, you have to time your run!”

To survive as an on-air team for 22 years is a remarkable achievement in the ego-crushing blood sport that is commercial radio, let alone atop the ratings in the medium’s most fiercely contested timeslot.

This story Former breakfast radio host David Collins loses battle with cancer first appeared on Newcastle Herald.