Year of Induction:
Kozak, Boyd (1941- )
Borys P. Kozak was born in 1941 in Macklin, Saskatchewan to immigrant parents from Ukraine. He was raised in Wadena, Saskatchewan, a small town that produced several name broadcasters down the years, including Pamela Wallin, Bob Washington and Barry Bowman.
After a childhood in part spent listening to distant radio stations from Chicago, Little Rock, New York and Seattle, teenager Borys could be found on Saturday nights at the Wadena Legion Hall, spinning all the latest discs for the local bobbysoxers. His obvious love for the microphone eventually got him his first radio job, with CFSL-AM Weyburn, Sask, in the fall of 1959.
But there was one drawback. The station manager felt that Borys’s first name was not “conducive to good English radio”, and suggested that a name change would be a good idea. While proud of his Ukrainian heritage, and sad at having to hurt his father’s pride, Borys eventually agreed with his manager that henceforth he would be known as Boyd Kozak.
Only six months later, Boyd was on the move again, this time to Moose Jaw, where he worked for both television and radio with CHAB for six months. In 1960, Boyd decided to upgrade his skills by taking courses at the University of Saskatchewan, but it was obvious that the costs of tuition, books etc were going to be expensive, so he checked the possibility of work at CFQC-AM, and was hired for weekend work following a successful audition.
In the summer of 1961, CFQC offered Boyd a fulltime job, and he worked happily there until 1963, when a call came from CKRC Winnipeg with an offer he just couldn’t refuse. In September 1963, Winnipeg teens first heard the fast talking, energized KOZ (as he had become nicknamed) fitting in nicely with the Rock ‘n’ Roll demands made of radio DJs.
Like the other CKRC on-air announcers, Boyd would also be out in the community on weekends MC’ing performances by the many popular local bands. (It was at this time that “KOZ” also became known as “Mom Kozak’s Favourite Middle Son” or “The Favourite Middle Son from Wadena”).
In 1964 and again in 1965 Boyd was sent to Toronto by the station to cover the Beatles’ appearances at Maple Leaf Gardens, and over the following years he MC’d concerts starring many more of the biggest recording stars of the day: Rock and Roll stars like the Four Seasons, Fats Domino, Johnny Rivers, Gerry and the Pacemakers and the Guess Who. When CKRC changed formats to Country, Boyd would MC performances by country stars like Johnny Cash, the Oak Ridge Boys, Kenny Rodgers, George Jones, Conway Twitty, Randy Travis and many more.
During his thirty-two years at the station, Boyd carried out many varied assignments, including covering the Pope’s visit to Winnipeg in 1984, and live on location broadcasts from all over Manitoba.
In 1995, Boyd became part of the broadcast team at CFQX in Winnipeg as the News and Community relations director.
Over his 53 years in broadcasting, Boyd Kozak has always been extremely active in the community, and has contributed countless hours to working to support a wide range of good causes. He has always been much in demand to act as host for many Telethons for the Lions Club and the Children’s Hospital, and has acted as MC for hundreds of fundraisers for Community clubs, Sports groups, Church organizations etc . He received special commendation for his efforts in aiding the building of a Family Room on the Children’s Ward at Winnipeg’s St Boniface Hospital. He has always been passionate about fundraising for children’s charities like Ronald McDonald House in Winnipeg, following the sad passing of his little girl Laura in 1980.
Boyd Kozak has also become dedicated to being of service to Winnipeg’s Health Sciences Centre, The Juvenile Diabetes Association, The Terry Fox Run, The C.N.I.B, The Alzheimer’s Society of Manitoba, Canadian Blood Services, The Kidney Foundation of Manitoba and many other worthy causes. He currently (2012) acts as the Honorary Chair for the Manitoba Riding For the Disabled Association.
In 2010 the Canadian Association of Broadcasters reorganized on a much smaller scale, and in the process dropped its Hall of Fame, which recognized exceptional contributors to the industry. In 2012, several Provincial Broadcasters’ Associations initiated their own Halls of Fame, though some, including Manitoba, had had their own version for some years. In September 2012 the Broadcasters’ Association of Manitoba named Boyd Kozak as the newest member of their Hall of Fame.
Written by Pip Wedge – October, 2012