Photo by Alan Levine via Flickr.

Fred Latremouille

The voice.

Back in the early 1990s some AM radio stations were still playing music. Although the superior quality of FM was already driving most of the old classic car radio pop outlets into talk formats there were a few holdouts, and Vancouver’s 14 CFUN was one. No longer the Top 40 giant it had been in its heyday, CFUN was by now an oldies station anchored by its star attraction—the morning team of Fred and Cathy. That was the late Fred Latremouille and his wife Cathy Baldazzi, veteran broadcasters who were certified ratings gold in the Vancouver market. Radio ratings are based on the crucial morning audience—the morning team is at the top of the ladder.

Ladders must also have bottom rungs. And there I sat—the all-night D.J. The overnight announcer is merely a warm body to punch buttons between midnight and 6 a.m., occasionally popping open the mike to croon, “Lionel Richie on 14 CFUN!” Then it’s back to the book or crossword puzzle. Or in my case, typewriter. Late in my radio career I had begun writing humorous essays for the Vancouver Sun. The lack of overnight supervision worked to my advantage—all night I was free to clack away undisturbed on the old IBM Selectric, then send the results in to the paper.

Latremouille had been a fixture in the Vancouver market for decades, part of the original generation of rock and roll radio giants. Latremouille did a TV stint hosting CBC’s mid-60s teen dance show Let’s Go. “Wherever teens go,” young Latremouille told the audience, “we’ll be going.” Sadly, where B.C. teens were going was adulthood. But Latremouille stayed with them, mostly on CFUN and eventually on KISS FM. Latremouille was funny, and more. He was capable of that seemingly effortless communication that is actually a skilled and subtle performance art—the ability to make a one-way medium seem like a real interaction.

Latremouille was a star. I was a peon. Yet there is still that hour on the station schedule when the circle closes as the lowly all-night DJ hands the studio over to the morning crew. And in that overlapping period Latremouille took a sincere interest in my writing. More than that—whenever one of my essays would appear in the paper he’d give it a plug on air. A small start up a different ladder. Very decent of him, I thought.

Photo by Alan Levine via Flickr.


Post Date:

April 13, 2015