Long before there was a Pierre Houde to call Habs games, and before Danny Gallivan and Rene Lecavalier and Dick Irvin and Doug Smith and the others who sat up high and described the action below, a man named J. Arthur Dupont was the voice of the Montreal Canadiens in the early days of hockey on radio, when Foster Hewitt was doing the same from his gondola at Maple Leaf Gardens.
The Canadiens only had French play-by-play in the 1930′s and early 40′s, and it was J. Arthur Dupont doing the job.
Dupont founded Montreal’s radio station CJAD in 1945, with the call letters coming from Dupont’s initials, and CJAD carries on Monsieur Dupont’s legacy as the present-day English language broadcaster for the Montreal Canadiens.
Dupont, by different accounts, was a tremendously respected man and there’s lots of gaps I wish I could fill in but I have only limited information. But I know that while Dupont was at the helm of his beloved CJAD, Jack Kent Cooke in Toronto, who owned the mega station CKEY, tried to swallow up CJAD but Dupont withstood the formidable Cooke and his moves and kept his radio station safe and sound
(CKEY in Toronto and I go back a long way. It and CHUM AM were the two radio stations I listened to faithfully as a boy with my transistor radio I had won as a paper boy. I learned all about young love and making out and all that thanks to the music from CKEY and CHUM AM.
Jack Kent Cooke became the first owner of the Los Angeles Kings when the team was accepted into the NHL’s first expansion in 1966. Cooke had an affinity with pro sports teams and also owned the LA Lakers and Washington Redskins among other conglomerates.
But this isn’t about Jack Kent Cooke, it’s about J. Arthur Dupont.
“Arthur was a broadcaster right down to his toes. And he fully understood that radio just wasn’t a machine to grind out music; it was a machine that had a place in the community, had to earn a place in the community, had to have the respect of that community, and had to take it seriously. And in that context, CJAD grew up to become what it is today.” Bill Roberts, former morning man at CJAD.