Puget Sound Radio's Jock Shot featuring retired radio television personality Fred Latremouille
By Michael Easton
July 13th, 2012
It's been an absolute delight and pleasure for me to have had this opportunity to interview one of my all time favourite disc jockeys, Mr. Fred Latremouille.
Fred and Cathy's beautiful home on PEI
For those who didn't know, Fred and Cathy sold their west coast home in White Rock near Vancouver and moved across Canada to the Maritime provinces, bought property and built a lovely home on Prince Edward Island. As much as we would have loved to have included Cathy in this interview, she gracefully declined this time, instead gave way for us to zero in on Fred and talk about his incredible journey in the wonderful world of Radio and Television in Vancouver.
Michael: Hello Fred, Welcome to Puget Sound Radio and our Jock Shot feature. First things first, are you from the west coast, and what sparked your interest to enter radio?
Fred: I was born in Nanaimo..radio was far from my mind then..walking was important as I was a baby..
ME: Was radio always on your radar screen? From what age? Did you have any formal training? I'd heard many years ago you launched your career in Peace River, Alberta. How did that all come about?
Fred: CKYL in Peace River put an ad in the paper asking for tapes..I was 16..sent them one..they called..told them I was twenty..got the job for a sizzling 180 a month..
ME: I remember first hearing you on CJOR in Vancouver, doing afternoons from 4 to 8. Was this when the Chandlers owned the station.
Fred: I guess it was Mrs. Chandler who held the helm as the owner.
ME: Who hired you?
Fred: Yes, Mrs Chandler was the boss lady, Vic Waters, who had hired Red (Robinson) hired me after I pestered him for three months every day in the lobby, he listened to my tape, started 2 til 6 playing C and W.
ME: That was quite the mix if I recall, Hot Liner Pat Burns followed you from 8 to Midnight. If I'm not mistaken, Burns was the reason CJOR had to sell and it turned out Jimmy Pattison was to be the new owner. Maybe you can give us your take on what was going on with the station at that time. The format you were doing was playing the hits as I recall
Fred: I had talked then manager Peter Kossick to let me play my generation's music..he agreed..so played the motown artists and the brits..including the first of the Beatles in the city..CFUN was light on them..Burns was a trip..first show he says "if there is a God, is he powerful enough to make a rock that even he couldn't lift it.".he had taken over from religious paid programmes..he was launched..always liked him...
ME: This was the day radio stations were into block programming in a big way, something that's not as prominent as today.
Fred: Yeah, sadly everything is very rigid now compared to then..
ME: You obviously caught the ears of those at CFUN and joined them in 1964 as one of the CFUN Good Guys. That story in itself has to be one we'd love to hear.
Fred: Red had noticed me making inroads with the kids..I was young like they were and had a growing fan base..he offered me a hundred less a month to work at CFUN..I jumped at it..
ME: I remember meeting you when I was working at Dave Armstrongs CKDA/CFMS back in 1965, you stopped by the station to visit either Paul Preston or Tim Burge at the time. When we met, you told me you were working mornings at Victoria's CFAX. Needless to say it was a bit of a shock, if not a surprise to have heard you on CFUN the previous week, only to discover you were now doing mornings down the street at CFAX in Victoria. How did that all come about?
Fred: Right, I was remarkably unpopular in radio management circles..had supported the Georgia Straight when the underground paper was under attack from then mayor Tom Campbell..CKLG boss Don Hamilton said "us or them" left for the paper where although I helped publicize their plight, realized that this was not my gig..
ME: You also moved into television. Were you with Red Robinson then? I recall the show was called Let's Go! How long was that gig?
Fred: Yes, Red and I wound up doing the national version from the west..Alex Trebeck did Ottawa..I had started the show solo from Vancouver prior to network but was very nervous and it showed..got a bit better with tv as I got the feel for it...
ME: It wasn't surprising to see you join the other rocker CKLG, which was going head to head with CFUN in those days... You were in the business during some exciting times, especially when rock radio emerged... tell us about LG, who hired you?... you must have some thoughts and stories about doing battle with your former employer CFUN..
Fred: Was dating a gal from Nanaimo, and could see when we went to A and W and rolled down the windows that LG was killing Fun on the island..better signal..fewer commercials..I was 17 or 18..so..stopped playing all the spots..Red fired me..was on my way to Mexico when LG called and emceed the Sonny and Cher show as my first gig for LG..mixed reaction from the kids.."traitor" from some but mostly good...
ME: 1968 you left LG and went back to CBC Television for a couple of years with a show called "New Sounds" tell us about that one.
Fred: New sounds was stop gap work while private radio wouldn't hire me..helped me get the money for basement suite in Kits and not much else..
Fred's holding a little finch which had hit their window
ME: Back to radio... format change with CFUN to CKVN (Voice of News) Vancouver's first Newstalk station?
Fred: Finally got a gig with the Tietolman family who had bought CFUN and incredibly changed the letters to CKVN.."voice of news"..the old man and I got along and I was untouchable when he fired all the newsguys..25 or so..out the door..I was interim PD..so hired JB shayne..who I loved and we suffered it out for a while til we went all rock and I hired..Terry David Mulligan. Tim Burge, Hal Weaver, and inherited Tom Jeffrey's..all good pros..but I had no management skills and was soon in over my head..skip ahead CHUM buys us and me and Tom Jeffries ran the place..Tom did music and I ostensibly ran the place til CRTC approval..the place rocked ..got a quarter of a million weekly circ..enter Chuck McCoy and we took it to number one with over a half million, largely on the back of "don't say hello" promotion..and some tight programming
ME: Back to TeeVee and CBC.... didn't you get into news with our public broadcaster.... Hour Glass?
Fred: Yes, my pal Bill Good suggested me when Mike Winlaw quit..did okay there..not a government type employee but a good primer in TV..
ME: you seemed to have disappeared from about 1978 to the early nineties. I understand you became ill at some point in your life, was this that period?
Fred: I had cancer back in 72..radiation and they didn't think I would make it..as for the time frame you mentioned..likely just my desire for privacy, which persists.
Fred with boat at one of the dunes near their home on PEI
ME: Tell us, who influenced you from an early age in the industry... the people you worked with. Who you admired and enjoyed.
Fred: Red for sure, initially, Frosty was so funny, lots of the KJR jocks..Les Crane, Carson, Webster, Monty ..most people in the biz I thought had something going..tough sledding..
ME: What was it like being a top 40 Jock back in the heyday of the CFUN days?
Fred: It was tons of fun[no pun] loved to go to work..
ME: Who were your favorite bands in your 20's?
Fred: The Beatles of course, Hendrix, most of the Brit rockers, RandB, gospel, Beach Boys, Seattle garage bands..loved the Sonics
ME: What band was the most memorable for you to introduce live on stage?
Fred: The Stones in 64[first Vancouver appearance] they were mind blowingly good and the fans rioted[ not really but the police thought so] pulled the plug in "Paint It Black"..Jagger sat cross legged, wouldn't leave the stage while Richards swore at the cops..I was called to settle things down..just spoke quietly til they paid attention and essentially told them that if they kept it up there would be no concert and perhaps no more period..plug goes back in and they rocked in..phew
Cathy enjoying life and home on Prince Edward Island
ME: What was your funniest moment on live radio?
Fred: Was in the middle of a rant about "penal reform" and saying "what we neeed is more penile" saw my op slide to the floor and Cath doubled over..we all cracked up uncontrollably..also had to read a two man newscast on New Years Day morning..the op threw up on the console and the other anchor Barry Bell and I could not regain our compusure ..laughed through every story..
ME: Why did you get into radio?
Fred: Thought it was magical..was and am a loner, liked the company and loved the music and jocks..
ME: What wisdom would you impart to today's generation of Announcer's?
Fred: Wisdom? You've got the wrong guy! Too enjoy every moment and learn to listen..
ME: What do you think about radio now?
Fred: I still enjoy it..listen more to sirius, CBC and internet radio..some good stuff out there but you have to look for it
Fred sailing off the shores of Prince Edward Island
ME: How do you spend your time now?
Fred: I try to keep in shape..swim half mile a day,lift light weights read, do chores around the property,twenty five acres, and love to drive around PEI, such a pleasure to go for a ride and no traffic to speak of..
ME: What are you reading currently?
Fred: "The Power of Habit", just re read Ouspensky's "In Search Of The Miraculous" finishing up on Stephen Tyler's book and the bio on Steve Jobs.
ME: What is your view of Canadian politics?
Fred: Complex question..varies from province to province and the feds..think it could get messier in Quebec again soon..like Harper and crew despite rather cold demeanor, think as an economist he will serve us well in murky economic waters ahead.think the libs and NDP should man up and merge..
ME: Will Justin Trudeau be Prime MInister one day?
Fred: God I hope not..but voters tend to fall for charisma over character, so who knows?
ME: What is your view of US Politics?
Fred: Messy, very messy, again charisma [Obama is charming] and Romney is so apparently uncomfortable in his skin, they worry me..wasn't really much of a slate for the running was it?
ME: The future of the Western World?
Fred: Democracy? Democracy requires voters and committment[sp] I hope the current disenchantment will lead to more active participation in the process..for all intents and purposes I think democracy is under siege..rules and regulators are in our faces at every turn..like a more libertarian view..ie..less government..
ME: How will you be spending the summer? The winter?
Fred: Summer and much of the year in the Maritimes, head for some sun and surfin in the colder months
ME: How is your health?
Fred: Reasonably good, given the tough miles.
Adios Fred Latremouille
ME: Thanks very much for taking this time to chat with us Fred. Anything you'd like close with?
Fred: I feel very grateful for the support from listeners and viewers over the years and always want to take the opportunity to say "thanks"..
Looking back to that time period when the Georgia Straight launched, I now remember Fred's endorsement of the mag and the backlash from then Mayor Tom Campbell... Both CFUN and CKLG had very little backbone when it came to choice, or better yet freedom of speech and were obviously intimidated by the likes of a Campbell. My question, Have things changed today? Thanks very much for this great interview with Fred. Sure brought back memories.