Biography

Pioneer - Member of CAB Hall of Fame

Couture, Roland G., O.C.

(1910-1993)

A founding member of the first private French-language radio station in Western Canada, Roland Couture helped established CKSB in the Winnipeg suburb of St. Boniface, Manitoba in 1946. The creation of CKSB was crucial to St. Boniface, and the French community came out in force to support its development. It got wide support, but there was opposition from some of the English-speaking community in Winnipeg. Soon, the station became very popular and its success encouraged other French stations to start in the west. After a few years with the station, Roland became its managing director, a position he held for 25 years.

During Roland's tenure, CKSB branched into many local activities in Manitoba, including the first French broadcast of a junior hockey game, community events, charity marathons, and broadcasting messages to loved ones and the rest of the country during the Red River Floods that ravaged the St. Boniface area. However, CKSB is also fondly remembered for distributing French Canadian entertainment that included such classics as "A Man and His Sin," "Rally of Laughter" and their own version of an invasion from space. Unlike a lot of small town radio stations that simply "ripped and read," CKSB had the tricky task of translating news from English to French. After more than 25 years of independent broadcasting, CKSB was taken over by the CBC.

As well as managing CKSB, Roland was active in many other organizations, servicing both the French and English communities. His dedication was acknowledged with honours that included Knight of St. Gregory, Honorary Doctor of Law from the University of Manitoba, the Order of Canada and the Caritas Award. He also served on the CAB's Board of Directors for seven years, and was a founding member of the Broadcasters' Association of Manitoba.

He died in 1993.

Roland Couture was inducted into the CAB Broadcast Hall of Fame in 1991.

Written by J. Lyman Potts - January, 1997


Audio:

His group appling several times for a French language licence finally approved in 1944
Successfully raising money - station went on the air with no debt
Being well accepted by community - were asked to give hockey scores in English as CKSB's French play-by-play was the only coverage of these games
Being joined by other French stations on the prairies
On his taking over the station management in 1949
Broadcasting hockey in French - and the expense involved with the finals
Being a community station - publicizing events - and no French newspaper
Charity marathons - held annually for ten years
Covering two serious Red River floods - on the air 24 hours for six weeks with messages - warnings
A new agreement to get recorded French programs from CKAC Montreal
About news - rip-and-read - but translated first - later as a CBC French affiliate - getting National news
How in 1973, CBC wanted a French Network station in Winnipeg - no room for two French stations - a deal was made with CBC to buy CKSB
Money from the sale went into a Foundation to promote French talent and authors in Manitoba

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