For decades deejay Fred Latremouille was one of the true voices of Vancouver. The guy who put the fun in CFUN. Fred passed away Thursday March 5 at the age of 69. Here’s a story I wrote about Fred and his longtime buddy, Red Robinson, for TV Week back in 1993.
Fred and Red
This interview cost Red Robinson a hundred bucks.
As I was asking Robinson and his longtime friend, Fred Latremouille,
about their new jobs, the pair suddenly remembered an old bet.
Said Latremouille: “For some years I was betting Red that CISL would
hire him for their morning show and I couldn’t understand why they hadn’t.
We had a standing bet. We had a hundred dollars on it.”
Robinson laughed and declared: “I owe you now, right this minute.”
Although it took three years to collect, Latremouille says he never
doubted he’d win his bet. Explains Latremouille: “It’s overdue that they
brought Red in to do the oldies stuff because Red was and is committed to
that kind of music and the era in a way that nobody else in the market ever
was and he has a real passion for it and that’s rare.” (In case any CISL
listeners are confused about why it took Latremouille so long to collect —
yes, Robinson has been heard on CISL, but he hasn’t been working for the
station, they’ve been picking up his syndicated oldies show from the
Satellite Radio Network.)
It would have been much more of a gamble for someone to have bet on
Latremouille leaving CFUN. Although he’s worked at a lot of other stations,
Latremouille has put in almost 20 years — including the last 11 — at
CFUN. But last year, KISS made Latremouille and his cohost (and wife) Cathy
Baldazzi an offer they couldn’t refuse.
Robinson said it was, “The biggest offer ever made for a broadcaster on
the west coast” and Latremouille didn’t dispute the statement. In order to
get out of their contract with CFUN, Latremouille and Baldazzi had to give
one year’s notice. They did and KISS agreed to wait — an incredible show
of confidence in a business where most programming changes happen
at the speed of light.
On August third, Latremouille, Baldazzi and thousands of B.C. radio
listeners will be starting their morning at a new station and a new spot on
the dial (96.9 FM). The rest of the KISS morning team will include Jack
Marion (news), Garry Raible (sports reports), Katey Rebax (traffic updates)
and BCTV’s Wayne Cox as the weather forecaster.
By complete coincidence, Robinson starts his new job as a morning man on
the exact same day — although his day doesn’t start until a half hour
later. Latremouille is on the air from 5:30 to 9:00 a.m. and Robinson is on
from 6:00 to 10:00 a.m. When we spoke, Robinson still hadn’t chosen the
rest of his crew, but he was looking forward to the opportunity to play with
the new show.
“I think it (Red’s show) is going to work really well,” says
Latremouille and I’m hoping that Red yanks away lots of audience from
Frosty and so do I.”
“I’ll drink to that,” says Robinson. And then the two raised their
bottles of fruit juice and clinked them together to toast the prospect of
taking on their former CFUN cohort, CKNW morning man Frosty Forst.
Robinson, who is already a member of the Canadian Broadcasting Hall of
Fame, says he plans to include items like “then and now” features on the
classic rockers heard on CISL (AM 650). “Like here’s his old hit, Devil
With the Blue Dress On and then I’ll phone Mitch Ryder and ask him what
he’s doing today. So every day I’ll call a different performer. Plus I’ll
dig into my 6000 interviews and run little pieces like what John Lennon
said when he was here.” After telling me this, Robinson turned to
Latremouille and said, “You were supposed to do that show.” Then he turned
back to me and explained: “He was supposed to emcee the Beatles in
Vancouver and he got mononucleosis.”
Says Latremouille: “Can you imagine? I was listening to it in the
“He was listening and almost crying,” says Robinson. “I would have too.”
“I was a kid,” says Latremouille.
“It was fabulous,” says Robinson, with just the hint of a tease. “I was
the program director and Freddy was in the hospital and I went and did it.”
Says Latremouille: “Red is one of the reasons I got into this
business — because of his association with the music and presentation of
it in the early years when I was a kid. It was just great to hear those
early songs on his show and the energy that Red brought to it and still
Adds Robinson with a smile: “And breaking the rules. You liked that
“But more than that I liked the entertainment, the communication, what
was going on. I was a lonely kid in my room and there was this guy and
there was that great music, so in a way Red was responsible for my getting
into this.” Robinson was also responsible for hiring Latremouille to work
at CFUN (the first time Latremouille worked there) and although it wasn’t
his first radio job, Latremouille says, “That was the big break. CFUN was a
“The early years of FUN were some of the best radio years,” says
Robinson. “Frosty Forst was part of that group, and Al Jordan, Fred,
myself, Tom Peacock who became manager of WX, Terry David Mulligan. And we
never made any money. That wasn’t the motive.”
“I never have worked for money,” says Latremouille. “I’ve worked for
very little and very good dollars. I’d rather have more, but I’ve never
worked just for that. It’s a great business, it’s fun.”
Watching Robinson and Latremouille talk, I feel less like an
interviewer than an eavesdropper. As well as talking about their new jobs,
they discuss vacations, families and exchange gossip about mutual friends.
When Latremouille talks about being “a kid” while he was listening to
Robinson on the radio he says it with such respect that there’s no chance
of mistaking it for even the slightest bit of a dig. And both men seem
absolutely convinced that it’s the other one’s story that is far more
important to tell.
Despite the fact that he spent 20 years at CFUN, Latremouille says
there’s an old joke he and his radio cohorts used to share — that you
could judge how successful a deejay was by the size of his U Haul.
“I think there’s only a couple (of stations) I missed,” says
“Me too,” says Robinson. “I never worked QM, did you?”
“No,” says Latremouille.
“Never worked CBC radio,” says Robinson.
“I did,” says Latremouille. “I was at LG for about two years, I was at
CBC radio off and on and I did some fill in at CJOR for talk.”
“And you did a helluva job,” says Robinson. “I worked LG, but I wasn’t
on the air, I was a salesman there for about 14 months.”
“I haven’t worked any of the FM stations before this,” admits
“Nor did I,” says Robinson. “I never worked CFMI either. However I
worked at NW. Never worked the FOX (CFOX) but I did do a thing every day
back when it was LGFM.”
“I met Larry and Willy (the CFOX morning team),” says Latremouille with
a big grin. “Does that count?”
With an even bigger grin, Robinson asks, “I forget, are those guys
“It starts,” says Latremouille, “It starts.”
Yes, it does. For both Red and Fred it starts on August third, but it
seems clear that they’re not planning to compete with each other — just
with everybody else.