Ron Chapman, Legendary Radio Icon Dies at 85 – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Long-time North Texas disc jockey Ron Chapman, who aired in Dallas-Fort Worth for more than four decades, died Monday. Chapman was 85 years old.

Chapman famously began his radio career the day he graduated from high school and aired for WHAV in Haverhill, Massachusetts, where he grew up, in 1953. Chapman spent two years on the armed forces radio in Korea before working in Connecticut.

In 1959 he moved to Texas and began his famous career at DFW.

Chapman was first heard in North Texas on KLIF as the on-air person “Irving Harrigan”. It was at KLIF where he teamed up with Charlie Brown (Jack Woods) on the Charlie and Harrigan Show to play records and do voices in skits.

Juan Garcia / The Dallas Morning News

Ron Chapman speaks to KVIL producer Sandi Hopkins when she shows him a news clip that can be of use to him in the air. The photo was taken on April 24, 1986.

From 1965 to 1968, Chapman hosted the locally produced teen TV dance show “Sump’N Else,” whose format is similar to Dick Clark’s American Bandstand.

A year later, Chapman moved to KVIL, where he led the morning ride with an “Adult Contemporary” format. Chapman’s morning show would become a giant that dominated reviews for decades.

In a 1987 Radio Hall of Fame clip of his show, which he was inducted into in 2012, Chapman can be heard about the sale of his radio station to Infinity Broadcasting, which sold for more than $ 82 million. Chapman joked the station was worth more than the Dallas Cowboys at the time.

I am sad to announce that legendary Dallas DJ Ron Chapman has passed away at the age of 85. He was so popular in Dallas in the 70s, 80s, and 90s that his KVIL station sold for more than the Dallas Cowboys. That was the power of Ron Chapman. RIP Ron pic.twitter.com/KZlTJNJAPI

– Hawkeye (@ HawkeyeOnAir) April 26, 2021

Jerry Jones, who bought the team two years later, reportedly paid more than $ 140 million for the team.

Chapman was known for his positive humor and outrageous on-air stunts. One of the most famous stunts was broadcast live while skydiving, a story that NBC 5 covered in November 1981.

Ron Chapman

NBC 5 news

The legendary DFW broadcaster Ron Chapman is preparing to broadcast live while skydiving in November 1981.

Other stunts, according to a biographical sketch of Chapman in the Texas Tech University Specialty Library, included “coverage of a camel race in the Sahara, a treasure hunt with clues to hidden tape recorders that led to Braniff Airways tickets to Hawaii.”

In another, with no explanation, he asked his audience to send in $ 20. Days later, the station received more than $ 244,000 in cash that was donated to a local charity.

“The Voice of KVIL,” says the biographical sketch, has been described by the Dallas Morning News as “one of the most respected and feared in the country.” In 1989 he was hailed by D Magazine as a “warm and hazy tyrant”. The 1985 Billboard simply described his team as “dominant”.

Ron Chapman

The Dallas Morning News

Radio personality Ron Chapman laughs at a comment from a caller when he hosted his final show for KLUV in her studio in Highland Park on Friday June 24th, 2005.

Chapman retired from KVIL on September 1, 2000 and moved to KLUV – an “oldies station”, where he stayed until he retired in 2005. However, this was not the last time he went on the air. In 2007 he resigned from the microphone as a presenter for radio legend Paul Harvey on his twice-daily program “The Rest of the Story”.

Chapman was inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2010 and the Radio Hall of Fame in 2012. He is also a member of the Texas Radio Hall of Fame.

According to a statement from the Texas Radio Hall of Fame, Chapman’s family are asking for time to come to terms with this loss and thank you for your kindness, understanding, and prayers. There will be no church service, but a public gathering of friends and colleagues will be planned. “

Ron Chapman

William Snyder, the Dallas Morning News

Ron Chapman is considered to be the main architect of KVIL’s rise to the top. He is also blamed for slipping recently in the race for area ratings. Photo taken on April 5, 1992.

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