Roland Giguere (1925-2005)

Year Born: 
1925
Year Died: 
2005

Pioneer

Giguere, Roland (1925-2005)

Roland Giguère was born in Montreal, where he attended St-Jean de Brébeuf School and Collège St-Ignace.

He began his career in the broadcasting industry in 1946, where he started working at radio station CHLP-AM (that later became CJMS-AM) in Montreal, and where the direction of his future career path was manifestly ordained. Over the next six years, he successively held the positions of radio announcer, Sports Director and News Director.

In the early days of television, in 1952, he became a producer for CBFT, Radio-Canada. In 1954, he was named supervisor of the Corporation’s sports and features department, after having made a formidable impression with the quality of a major live news report that he had presented when Cardinal Léger returned from Rome after being appointed to the rank of Cardinal.

In 1957, he was promoted to Director of the sports and features department (radio and television) for the entire Radio-Canada French language network. Amongst other responsibilities, he took on the coordination of the first French language television feeds to a major American network.

His sense of organization, his leadership and his numerous accomplishments consequently attracted the attention of J.A. DeSève, who invited him to join the team that would be setting up the first private French language TV station in Montreal, CFTM-TV, also known as Channel 10. A groundbreaking pioneer, he rapidly rose to positions of significant responsibility. In 1960, he was appointed manager of CFMT-TV. In 1963, he was promoted to the position of Assistant to the President, and in 1967, he became a Vice-President of CFTM-TV. In 1974, he took the reins of the company as President and CEO, to later become Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO in 1979.

In addition to his functions at Télé-Métropole inc., he was chairman of the Boards of Directors of other companies whose activities were related to Télé-Métropole inc., namely, the national advertising sales representation agency, Paul L’Anglais inc., the television program and TV commercial production company, JPL Productions inc., the post-synchronization and film laboratory company, Sonolab inc., the feature film production company, Télé-Métropole International inc. and finally, the CJPM-TV Chicoutimi station.

During a period where the financial successes of French-Canadian businesses were still rather limited, he implemented sales and administrative procedures that made Télé-Métropole inc., the most profitable television station in all of Canada.

Amongst the major decisions that he made and each of which, in their historical context, left a profound mark on the evolution of Télé-Métropole inc., the following should be noted:

* 1970: Creation of the TVA television network, initially made up of three stations and eventually of ten stations, which reached the entire population of the Province of Quebec;
* 1974: Télé-Métropole inc. became a public-traded corporation whose shares were listed on the Montreal and Toronto Stock Exchanges;

When the estate of J.A. DeSève decided to relinquish its holdings in Télé-Métropole inc., Roland Giguère resigned his functions as director of the company, on August 20, 1987.

At the same time that he was pursuing his TV broadcasting career, Roland Giguère had accepted, in 1968, the function of trustee that the testament of the late J.A. DeSève had conferred to him. He thus created, upon the death of J.A. DeSève, a foundation that bears his name and that, beyond the administration of its assets, has the mission to assist various French Canadian charitable and educational institutions.

Roland Giguère belonged to that race of pioneers who paved the way for television to genuinely take flight and provide the community with a major entertainment and information vehicle.

Roland Giguère died on January 17, 2005.

Written by Yvon Chouinard - January, 2005

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