Long before he was Rutland County’s senior senator, Brian Collamore was a mainstay on the local airwaves.
Collamore, 68, has retired from his day job at WSYB, where he has been an on-air personality and did sales.
“My wife is living in Florida and has very patiently been waiting for me to retire,” he said.
Collamore signed off from WSYB for the last time last Friday.
“It’s funny because I didn’t think about it until later, but Aug. 8, 1974, was my first day on the air at WSYB,” he said. “If I’d waited a bit, I could have finished 45 years to the day.”
Collamore said he remembers the date because it was the day Richard Nixon resigned.
“My first duty, as I sat down to the control board, was to put the NBC bulletin on,” he said.
Collamore said he is undecided about whether he will run for re-election in 2020, but that he will at least finish out his current term.
“Many have pointed out to me that from a weather standpoint, it’s counterproductive,” he said of spending summers in Florida and coming back to Vermont in winter for the Legislative session. “I do sincerely love being in the Legislature. I love the work, and I hope I have served the folks in Rutland County well.”
Collamore said his interest in radio was sparked when he attended high school in Massachusetts with the son of a prominent Boston-area broadcaster.
“I fell in love with being on the air,” he said. “Boston was my dream job that I eventually wanted to get to, but I never made it south of Rutland. ... I really loved Rutland, and I loved the people here, and I never regretted staying here for 47 years.”
Collamore started at the now-defunct WHWB in Rutland in 1971 after graduating from Middlebury College, moving on to WSYB three years later.
“When I moved here, there were just two AM stations and no FM ones,” he said.
Collamore said he watched the radio landscape expand and then contract along with numerous other industries. He said he’s been through about five different owners at WSYB, but the station has always managed to maintain a “local flavor.”
“You can’t dial up a satellite radio station and get the Rutland scores or the weather forecast,” he said. “Local radio will always fulfill a need because of its direct reach into the community.”
It was that reach into the community that kept Collamore coming to work day after day.
“Rutland County’s a very special place,” he said. “We used to have the same cast of characters who call the morning show. ... I can’t think of one thing that I won’t miss.”
Collamore scaled back his on-air presence once he was elected to the Legislature. During the session, he’d be on-air on Mondays and do a daily legislative report. He said he expects to have more time to spend on legislative matters and that he plans to continue refereeing on weekends.
“It’s tough to step away from any job you’ve had for 47 years, but as someone wiser than me said, you’ll know when it’s time,” he said.