Biography

Pioneer - Member of CAB Hall of Fame

Pouliot, Jean Adelard

(1923-2004)

Born in Quebec City in 1923, Jean Pouliot pursued a classical education at the Petit Séminaire de Québec. In 1945, he graduated from Laval University with a degree in electrical engineering.

He subsequently joined the Canadian Navy, where he built a television receiver that caught the eye of the Famous Players Canadian Corporation, which hired him in 1952. As an executive engineer, he began to investigate the feasibility of launching a pay television service in Canada and even went so far as to obtain cable broadcasting licences for all the major cities across the country, at a time when television sets were still very rare. While working at Famous Players, he also supervised the development and construction of new TV stations, CKCO in Kitchener, Ontario, and CFCM in Quebec City.

In 1957, he returned to Quebec City as general manager of Télévision de Québec Inc., which operated CFCM-TV and CKMI-TV, the latter an English-language station affiliated to the CBC. CFCM was then producing up to 60 hours of local programming per week and showcasing all the major French-language singing stars both from Quebec and France.

In 1971, Télévision de Québec, renamed Télé-Capitale Ltée, became a publicly-traded company, and embarked into the world of radio by acquiring CHRC-AM and CHOI-FM in Quebec City, and CKLM-AM in Montreal, as well as a movie production company, Ciné-Capitale. Jean Pouliot was President and CEO of the company for seven years.

1971 also marked the year that Jean Pouliot founded the TVA Network along with Roland Giguère of CFTM-TV (Télé-Métropole), Montreal.

In 1979, he moved to Montreal and acquired from the Bronfman family CTV affiliate CFCF-TV and radio stations CFCF-AM and CFQR-FM, as well as their associated video production company, Champlain Productions. In 1982, he bought CF Cable TV from the McConnell family. CF Cable in turn acquired several other cable broadcasting systems over the ensuing years, including those in Sudbury and Timmins, Ontario, with the result that the company eventually boasted more than 430,000 subscribers. Before long, Jean Pouliot consolidated all his interests in CFCF Inc., which went public in 1985.

In 1985, Jean Pouliot obtained a licence to launch Télévision Quatre-Saisons, the second private French-language television network in Canada, which broadcast its first show on September 7, 1986, under the call letters CFJP-TV, in Montreal. The network eventually added CFAP-TV in Quebec City, a retransmitting station in Rimouski, and affiliated stations in Hull, Jonquière, Sherbrooke, Trois-Rivières, Rouyn-Noranda and Rivière-du-Loup, thereby reaching nearly 90% of the population of Quebec.

Jean Pouliot was President and CEO of CFCF Inc. from 1979 to 1993, when he turned over the company’s helm to his son Adrien, who was then 35 years old. Jean Pouliot remained Chairman of the Board until the company was sold in 1997.

Jean Pouliot was very active in various broadcasting industry organizations. From 1961 to 1965, he was Vice-President of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters, before becoming its first francophone President, a position he held from 1965 to 1967. From 1971 to 1977, he was President of the national news agency Broadcast News Ltd. He was also President of the Television Bureau of Canada for one term.

In 1988, he received the Communications Award from the Government of Quebec in the Communications Entrepreneurship category. He was also made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1990 and received a Doctorate of Laws honoris causa from Concordia University, in 1997.

In 1992, he was inducted into the CAB Broadcast Hall of Fame.

Jean Pouliot died on August 8, 2004.

Written by Yvon Chouinard - August, 2004

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