Even those who never met John Myers felt as if they knew him. There was little difference between the warm, funny broadcaster and the person John was away from a microphone.

That is among the reasons his death, at the age of 60, has been keenly felt by so many.

In Cumbria, John was best known for his spells at Border TV and CFM. His influence was felt around the UK as he launched radio stations which millions listened to.

John was one of nine children, brought up on Carlisle's Harraby and Belah estates. He became a DJ in city pubs and clubs, and was desperate to break into radio.

In 1980 he got a foot in the door at BBC Radio Cumbria. He wanted to play the hits but found himself presenting Lamb Bank; a service putting farmers with surplus lambs in touch with those looking for additional lambs.

Years later he recalled: “Farmers’ telephone numbers became mixed up, lambs were advertised as parents and, at one point, I even offered a farm for sale for a price that turned out to be a phone number.”

But John was a fast learner, and he was determined. He left Radio Cumbria to freelance at commercial stations. Wanting to try television, he rang Eric Hadwin, Border TV's head of programmes, every Monday for six months to see if there was any work. When there was, John seized his chance.

He became the station's most popular continuity announcer. To introduce Westerns, he wore a cowboy hat. For snooker he donned a waistcoat and held a cue.

And for the Border Birthdays slot, when reading out children's cards, he employed a puppet called Eric the Monkey. Eric would toss away the cards when John had read them. On one occasion John declared that today was Eric's birthday. Eric's paper hat fell onto the cake and was set alight by a candle as John hastily introduced a cartoon.

After three years he returned to radio, with Lancashire-based Red Rose. John preferred the medium's intimacy and immediacy, and had an instinctive grasp of what listeners wanted. He said: “It’s the ability for one person to have a huge effect, just by what they say and how they say it. One person can really do something quite special. With TV I have to tell half a dozen people before I do it.”

John was a fine broadcaster and a skilled entrepreneur. He moved into management and in 1993 was part of the Border TV-backed team which launched north Cumbria's first commercial radio station, CFM.

John combined management with presenting. His Friday night phone-in show was hugely popular, as were his prank calls. One of his favourites was to The Cumberland News. He posed as an elderly man who wanted to post a death notice: “Are you ready, love? Mr Reed from Raughton Heed is deed.”

On a phone-in competition he asked a Carlisle woman “What was Hitler’s first name?” Following much deliberation, she answered “Heil.”

After a year John spread his wings again. He launched Century Radio in the north east and presented programmes under the pseudonym John Morgan.

Listeners would ring managing director John Myers to complain about something John Morgan had said. “I’d say ‘I didn’t hear John Morgan this morning, love. What did he say? Oh dear. I’ll deal with it immediately.'"

In 1998 John featured in BBC2 documentary Trouble at the Top, which charted his launch of Century Radio in the north west and the Midlands.

At one point John told a religious programme presenter why he was dropping her show, explaining that ratings had fallen so far "even God's not listening."

The following year he joined Guardian Media Group to establish its radio division. As chief executive he developed the Real Radio, Smooth Radio and Rock Radio brands. He bought stations worth more than £100m.

On one occasion, while negotiating a deal, John took off his jacket, rolled up his shirt sleeve and suggested an arm wrestle. The tension had been broken and the deal was quickly completed. "Business is serious," he once said. "But it doesn’t have to be done in a serious way."

John referred to his colleagues as "Team": partly to encourage a sense of togetherness, and partly because he couldn't remember everyone's name. A big man in size and personality, he was a natural leader.

In 2009, at the age of 50, John entered semi-retirement. The Government asked him to write a report into the future of commercial radio. Many of his recommendations were included in the Digital Economy Act 2010.

The BBC then asked him to advise on its national and local radio stations. Despite spending most of his career in the commercial sector, John greatly admired the BBC. He came very close to being appointed Radio 2 controller, and a member of the BBC Trust; the corporation's governing body.

John was made an honorary fellow of the University of Cumbria in 2012. He was a visiting professor there and at Sunderland University, giving his time and sharing his enthusiasm with students.

His advice included the importance of a friendly manner, a positive outlook and a firm handshake.

John chaired numerous radio industry awards and, since its inception in 2014, the Carlisle Living Awards. He hosted the ceremony as well as The Cumberland News Community Heroes Awards and the annual News & Star pensioners' Christmas concert at the Sands Centre.

John wrote a monthly column for Carlisle Living magazine. He and his wife Linda moved to Northumberland in the 1990s but John frequently returned to Carlisle and was passionate about seeing the city thrive.

In Cumbria, even 30 years after his time on Border TV, he would often be greeted by shouts of “Where’s Eric?” "I'd say 'He's dead!'" laughed John.

In January last year he was diagnosed with throat cancer. After four months of gruelling treatment at the Bobby Robson Cancer Centre in Newcastle's Freeman Hospital, he was given the all clear. John's death so soon afterwards is another reason for the wave of shock and sadness.

He died last Saturday after collapsing at Gleneagles golf course. His son Scott posted a Facebook message saying: 'Like a true northerner, he got value for money and made it to the fairway of the 18th hole, moments away from being reunited with mum, who was waiting for him in the hotel reception.

"Despite the fantastic efforts of Police Scotland, Gleneagles staff and Air Ambulance paramedics, he didn’t make it back - and left us at Gleneagles after what we suspect was a heart attack."

John and Linda had been married for 36 years. They had two children, Scott and Kerry. After his cancer treatment, John said last year: "If there was one person who really got me through it, it was Linda. She never left my side in those four months and ensured I got the right drugs at the right time, was taken to hospital and returned and, best of all, always made me laugh and think positively."

A positive attitude was important to John. He didn't like moaners, preferring to laugh at life's problems and, when he could, tackle them.

Several years ago he was asked how he would like to be remembered. He replied: "If people said 'He made a difference, and he was a nice guy', I think that's the best anyone can hope for."

Mission accomplished.