2CC presenter Chris Coleman is leaving radio after 32 years
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2CC presenter Chris Coleman is leaving radio after 32 years

When Chris Coleman first began his career in radio, his father gave him some sobering advice.

"He worked in radio before I was born, and when I started developing an interest in it, he said, 'It's an industry that will break your heart and quite possibly send you broke,'" he said.

2CC has announced Chris Coleman will replace Marcus Paul on the radio station's drive program.

2CC has announced Chris Coleman will replace Marcus Paul on the radio station's drive program.Credit:Suppled

That was 32 years ago, when Coleman was a "callow teenager", doing his first radio show on Canberra's old sports and racing station, SSS.

This week, he will hang up his headphones for the last time, and begin a new career in public relations on the ACT Police Media team.

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The veteran broadcaster, who has presented the afternoon drive show on 2CC since 2016, said only half of what his father warned had proved true.

"I've had a lot of fun in radio, and it has sustained me through more than three decades - it's meant that I've been able to send my kids off to good schools," he said.

"But radio has broken my heart on so many occasions."

He said one of his great regrets had been how much technology he had seen come and go during his three decades on the job, which has taken him from Canberra, to ABC Local Radio in Wagga Wagga, Dubbo, and the Riverina, as well as stints in commercial radio in Orange and Muswellbrook.

"I started out when we were still playing reel-to-reel tape machines in the studio, we were playing vinyl records, we had cartridges that you plunked into machines," he said.

"I've seen CDs introduced, soar in popularity and become obsolete. I wrote a couple of years ago lamenting how many pieces of technology my radio career had actually outlasted - lamenting because some of it was really good stuff."

He said radio could often be brutal in terms of job offers that didn't pan out.

But he always told young journalists that it was important to keep going.

"You've just to keep getting up off the canvas. It will knock you down but you've got to get back up again," he said.

He said he had no regrets in a career that had included interviewing many of his heroes, including Bob Geldof, Ben Elton and US sports broadcaster Vin Scully.

But he said his decision to leave radio had no relation to the sexual harassment controversy currently dogging 2CC's sister station, 2CA.

"2CC and 2CA are very much separate entities. I've got to confess, I don't know a lot of what goes on in the 2CA side of stuff," he said.

"This is very much a career change. The police and emergency services are people that I've had a lot of admiration for over a lot of years.

"I've always said if/when I leave radio, it's not going to be for a job, it's going to be for the job. And this is the job."

Chris Coleman's last show is on February 2.

Sally Pryor is a reporter at The Canberra Times.

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