Longtime Winnipeg radio personality Boyd Kozak and Bob Ridley, sports director at CHAT 94.5 FM Medicine Hat, have been announced as this year’s inductees into the Western Association of Broadcasters (WAB) Hall of Fame.
Kozak retired last year as news director at QX104 (CFQX-FM) Winnipeg. His 59-year career started right out of high school in 1959 at CFSL-AM Weyburn, SK, quickly moving on to CHAB Radio & TV in Moose Jaw, CFQC-AM Saskatoon and then CKRC-AM Winnipeg where he landed in 1963. He joined CFQX-FM in 1995 as news and community relations director. Kozak has been a DJ, reporter, producer, talk show host, blogger and news director.
He’s interviewed The Beatles, Johnny Cash, Kenny Rogers, The Guess Who, and George Jones, among countless other artists. Kozak also championed hundreds of fundraising endeavours over the course of his career including his successful “Community Counts” segment.
“I feel very humbled by this honour, to be among so many of Western Canada’s broadcasters who have been recognized! Being a small-town prairie boy from Wadena, SK and having this bestowed on me is unexpected and much appreciated,” said Kozak.
Fellow inductee Bob Ridley also hails from the rural prairies. Ridley, who just passed the 55-year mark in his career, was born in Vulcan, AB and grew up on farm in the Morrin area. Given a choice between farming and his broadcasting aspirations, he chose the latter.
Ridley started out working weekends at CJDV Drumheller while attending Mount Royal College. Upon graduation he got his first full-time job at CKSW Swift Current as a disc jockey and hockey and baseball play-by play voice, calling his first game for intermediate team, the Swift Current Indians. In 1966, he moved to CKKR Rosetown before landing at CHAT Medicine Hat as sports director in April 1968. He’s been the voice of the WHL Medicine Hat Tigers Hockey Club since the team’s introduction in 1970. In 49 years as the Tigers’ play-by-play announcer, he has missed just a single game, calling over 3,900 contests.
“When I began my broadcast career more than 50 years ago I never dreamed I would receive such a prestigious award. Truly an honour to be sure and I have to thank my family and CHAT Radio & TV for giving me that opportunity many years ago,” said Ridley.
The induction ceremony for Boyd Kozak and Bob Ridley will take place Thursday, June 6, at
the WAB President’s Dinner & Awards Gala at the Fairmont Banff Springs. The WAB Leader of Tomorrow Award as well as the Gold Medal Awards for Community Service and Digital Innovation will also be presented that evening. Find ticket info here.
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