Armen, Vik

The man we know in broadcasting as Vik Armen was born Bryan Fustukian in St. Boniface, Manitoba. His love of music became apparent at an early age, and encompassed jazz, big band music, rhythm and blues, classical, country music in its original form, pop music, and in due course, rock.Fustukian began his singing career at thirteen, and combined with other endeavours, continued throughout his working life. It was in Edmonton, when he appeared as a guest singer on an all-night radio show, that he was encouraged to get into radio broadcasting, and to choose his new radio name, Vik Armen.

Vik went to Lloydminster as a disc jockey, and learned radio from the ground up. He then expanded his horizons, and traveled across Canada and into the Eastern United States, working at CKRC, Winnipeg; CHED and CJCA in Edmonton; CHEC, Lethbridge; CKOY, Ottawa; CKEY, Toronto; and WPRO in Providence, Rhode Island.

Armen, with his alter ego Fustukian, combined hosting radio programs, (primarily those featuring the hits of the day), with recording his own songs, and with producing recordings for himself and others.

In his early career, while serving as morning man at CJCA, Edmonton, Vik wrote, produced, and released a single I’m Not in Your Dreams Anymore, which became a number one record in the market. Several recordings followed on the Apex label, including a session recorded at Norman Petty’s legendary studio in Clovis, New Mexico.

At WPRO, Rhode Island, where he was also Music Director, Downbeat Magazine voted Vik Armen the most influential DJ on the Eastern Seaboard two years in a row. During his tenure at that station he increased the rating in his time slot to an unprecedented 44.4 share of audience. At the same time, he was producing recordings in New York for groups based in the New England area, and was producing live concerts in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. Headliners included Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Blood Sweat and Tears, Al Martino, Buck Owens, and many others of like stature.

Vik returned to Edmonton in 1972 and continued his radio career at CFRN, CKUA and CJAX-FM.

Not only did Vik Armen combine radio with his many-faceted musical career, but he also appeared in movies filmed in Alberta as a principal actor, and provided narration for King Motion Pictures.

His retirement from broadcasting did not end his involvement with the music industry, nor with the communications industry. Vik Armen went on to become President of abc Telecommunications Inc, a voice-over production studio located in Edmonton. In 2003 he formed a group which applied to the CRTC for a broadcast licence to serve Edmonton with a radio station featuring music from the ’40s ’50s and ’60s. While the application was not successful, Vik continued to nurture his dream and to work toward its fulfillment.

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