In honour of the Champlain Saint-Lambert’s 50th anniversary, the college has followed up with 50 of its alumni to see where their paths have led after their time in Cegep. These 50 former students have gone on to accomplish amazing things and their paths show just how much is possible for a Champlain grad.
Before CTV and CBC, this well-known broadcaster graced the airwaves at Champlain.
For longtime broadcaster and Montreal TV personality Franco Cavallaro, Champlain’s campus radio station was an early introduction into what would become his life’s work.
Cavallaro (Social Science Communication, 1978) spent 17 years as a broadcaster for CTV Montreal and another 12 years with CBC Montreal.
The well-known weather man and radio host started DJ-ing weddings and Bar Mitzvahs in Montreal North when he was still a teenager. When it came time to choose a Cegep, Cavallaro was enticed by the chance to host his own radio show with Champlain radio.
“I came to an open house at Champlain and I said ‘Wow, this place has a radio station.’”
The College building was brand new when Cavallaro began his studies in 1976 and he spent hours in the former band ring, hosting a weekly top 40 music show from his spot in the booth.
“The band ring would become a hangout, people would play dance music, rock,” Cavallaro recalled.
In the Communications program, he took filmmaking, public speaking and other classes which related to his newfound passion.
“Champlain really got me going,” he said. “I guess you can say Champlain sort of launched my career.”
After college, Cavallaro attended University of Ottawa and then got a job working in radio in New Brunswick in 1980. He bounced around to other smaller stations before landing a gig doing reports for The Weather Network out of Montreal.
This was his first foray into television, and he continued to be a recognizable face on the airwaves from 1988 to 2020, first at CTV and then CBC.
Now Cavallaro is back working in radio, hosting the morning show for MIKE FM 105.1 and doing a weekend show in Sherbrooke at CJMQ 88.9 FM.
He said after so many years in the industry, “it’s amazing how the business has changed.”
Cavallaro has seen the industry evolve from a time where he would have to send cassette tapes in the mail carrying his demos to the present day where he can produce his radio shows from the comfort of his home studio.
Cavallaro’s advice for current students and recent grads: “Pursue your dreams, be it in radio or television or any other field. You’ll encounter obstacles along the way. Stick with it and you will succeed. With your feet on the ground, keep reaching for the stars.”