Duff Roman to receive 2019 Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award

Broadcasting veteran Duff Roman is set to receive the 2019 Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award. (Bill King Photography)

The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) has announced that broadcast veteran Duff Roman will be awarded the 2019 Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award for his ongoing contributions and dedication to the Canadian music industry.

Named for the legendary Canadian publisher who co-founded the Juno Awards, the Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award recognizes individuals whose work has significantly impacted the growth and development of the Canadian music industry.

Lauded as an industry trailblazer, Roman was born in Saskatchewan, getting his start in radio at CHAT-AM/TV Medicine Hat in 1955, then CKRC-AM and CFRW-AM Winnipeg, eventually returning to his hometown of Swift Current and CKSW-AM as morning man and program director. He moved on to 630 CHED Edmonton, before being drafted to an on-air position at CKEY 590 Toronto, then CKFH (now Sportsnet 590 The Fan). He arrived at CHUM in 1965 as a weekend announcer and worked his way up the ranks. In 1974, he was appointed program director of CHUM-FM. Ten years later, as operations manager, he directed the re-positioning of the station to Adult Rock. In 1996, he was appointed vice-president of Industry Affairs for CHUM Limited, and in 1999 assumed the added responsibilities of vice-president, Digital Radio Operations. He retired from the company as head of the CHUM Radio Network.

In addition to his broadcasting career, Roman co-founded Roman Records with his late brother Dan in the early 1960s, as a pioneer record-label owner and artist manager. He produced Little Caesar and The Consuls, as well as the first recordings of Levon and the Hawks, who notably went on to become The Band, backing Bob Dylan. Roman also helped launch the careers of The Paupers and Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductee David Clayton-Thomas, among many others.

Roman has also been a guiding force in programs invested in the longevity and future of Canadian music and in 1982, led the creation of FACTOR, the Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent on Recordings. He continues to serve as its Director Emeritus.

Since forming Duff Roman Media Inc. in 2009, Roman has been involved in SmartGrid electrical demand-response technology development as well as TV documentary production, including the award-winning mini-series, Yonge Street: Toronto Rock and Roll Stories, for BRAVO. He currently consults for the 19-station Evanov Radio Group as VP of Corporate Development.

Roman was inducted to the Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) Broadcast Hall of Fame in 2001, and was one of the first broadcasters inducted into the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame in 2006, among other accolades he’s received over the years.

“We are honoured to name Duff Roman as the Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award Recipient this year. Duff has been a consummate figure in Canadian broadcasting, with industry insight and a dedication that knows no bounds; his lifelong work exemplifies the true spirit of this award,” said Allan Reid, President & CEO, CARAS/The JUNO Awards & MusiCounts. “Throughout his remarkable career, Duff has always been focused on the development of Canadian music. He stands apart as an iconic leader in the industry and continues to provide valuable guidance and wisdom from his decades of experience.”

“I am humbled and truly overjoyed to be receiving this award,” said Roman. “I’ve always felt lucky to be a part of an industry that honours creativity and an entrepreneurial spirit. I’d like to thank CARAS and everyone in this incredible industry that I’ve had the honour of working alongside throughout the years.”

This year’s award will be presented to Roman at the 48th Annual JUNO Gala Dinner & Awards on Mar. 16 at the London Convention Centre in London, Ontario.

The 48th annual JUNO Awards and JUNO Week 2019 will be hosted in London from Mar. 11-17, culminating in The JUNO Awards, on Sunday, March 17, at Budweiser Gardens, broadcast live at 8 p.m. ET on CBC, CBC Radio and globally at cbcmusic.ca/junos.

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