The Ghost has left the building
July 3, 2019 4:24 PM   Subscribe

Stephen “The Ghost Who Talks” Walker, veteran Australian community radio presenter and cultural figure, has passed away. Walker was a long-running volunteer presenter, and later programme manager, on Melbourne community radio station 3RRR, and had shaped the station and the culture of Australia's vibrant community radio scene. His long-running programme, Skull Cave, ran for three hours on Friday afternoons; on it, he adopted the persona of The Ghost (loosely based on the comic-book character The Phantom), and played a broad variety of music and interviewed artists on air. Walker had been compared to John Peel for his influence, and became the first radio presenter to be inducted into the Music Victoria Awards Hall of Fame in 2011.

Prior to his radio career, Walker had been an actor with Melbourne avant-garde theatres including La Mama and The Pram Factory, before going into community work, bringing his theatrical skills with him.

Walker passed away after a short battle with cancer. He also had suffered from multiple sclerosis for a long time; a benefit gig for him was held in 2010, featuring the likes of Nick Cave, Dirty Three and Dave Graney. He continued to host Skull Cave until 2018, when he handed over the reins; the programme continues as The Cave.
posted by acb (5 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 6:27 PM on July 3, 2019


I loved his show - I couldn't always listen to it because of competing interests (usually going out after work on a Friday), but when I did he always played something that staggered me.

He really knew his stuff and his show was always so well produced. You could tell how much care he put into it. And the quiz - only five questions but fuck they were hard!

He also had a big impact on the sound of the best radio station in the world.

RIP Ghost.
posted by awfurby at 7:18 PM on July 3, 2019 [1 favorite]

A big loss. I listened to him for around 25 of his 37 years on air, from age 12 or so. He helped shape my taste in music, without question. Not only that, he had a huge hand in one of the world's biggest public radio stations and helped shape the music scene of this city, for years. And we're talking Melbourne here, where you can see fifty gigs at least, every night of the week.

I remember telling my parents to put on RRR in the car on the way out of Melbourne one time, so we could listen to the Skull Cave. This caused some raised eyebrows but I think dad might have liked it. Mum certainly didn't.

I will be listening at 4 tomorrow afternoon.

posted by deadwax at 9:22 PM on July 3, 2019 [1 favorite]

I remember I once knew the answer to a quiz question. Just once! But that was enough, just knowing that one tidbit of musical esoterica. I saw the quiz more as part of my ongoing musical education than any sort of competition.

May the Ghost forever haunt our musical predilections.
posted by antipodes at 3:13 AM on July 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

A massive loss. I co-presented a show on 3RRR for a few years in the 90s while he was program manager. I can't say I warmed to him on a personal level, but the way in which the station evolved and thrived under his stewardship was remarkable and our show was a direct result of that. His influence is still felt in the diversity of music and views presented on 3RRR, and will be for many years to come I suspect.

Will be thinking of him this Friday from 4-7pm.
posted by tim_in_oz at 12:12 PM on July 4, 2019

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