Radio Hall of Famer Ron Chapman Dies at 85

When legendary radio personality Ron Chapman retired from full-time work on the airwaves in 2005, it didn’t take much to get everyone to tell their favorite story about the Radio Hall of Famer.

“There will never be another run like his,” D Magazine‘s Tim Rogers wrote at the time. “Forty-five years in one market. Thirty-two of them at the same station. He was No. 1 forever. He killed the competition. And every morning he was there for us, standing at his mic, drinking Dr Pepper, talking to the city.”

What followed was story after story about Chapman, who started as a DJ in 1953, and his more infamous bits.

Chapman died Monday at the age of 85, the Texas Radio Hall of Fame announced on its Facebook page.

“Three time radio Hall of Famer and Dallas radio ICON Ron Chapman has passed,” the organization said. “His family asks for time to process this loss, and thanks you for your kindness, understanding and prayers. There will be NO service, but a public gathering of friends and colleagues is being planned.”

After beginning his career in Massachusetts, Chapman began working at KVIL in 1969, joining the staff as on-air talent, music director, and program director of the adult contemporary station. He would spend 31 years at KVIL, once broadcasting live while skydiving from an airplane.

In 2000, Chapman moved to “oldies” station KLUV, where he worked for another five years before retiring. He became a “permanent substitute” for Paul Harvey in 2007.

“This has something to do with age,” Chapman said when he announced his retirement on KLUV. “It’s an unavoidable thing… I love doing the morning show but my bones are beginning to tell me that hitting the ground running at 4:10 every morning is not going to be supported forever by whatever frame that I carry around with me and happy to have served me around for a lot of years but it looks as tho I really need to be taking care of it instead of it taking care of me.”

Throughout Monday, tributes to the longtime Dallas radio staple were pouring in on Twitter and other social media platforms.

Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson, Digital Editor at People Newspapers, cut her teeth on community journalism, starting in Arkansas. Recently, she's taken home a few awards for her writing, including first place for her tornado coverage from the National Newspapers Association's 2020 Better Newspaper Contest, a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She is a member of the Education Writers Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Real Estate Editors, the News Leaders Association, the News Product Alliance, and the Online News Association. She doesn't like lima beans, black licorice or the word synergy. You can reach her at bethany.erickson@peoplenewspapers.com.

4 thoughts on “Radio Hall of Famer Ron Chapman Dies at 85

  • April 26, 2021 at 3:59 pm
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    I first met Ron when there was only 3 DJs at KVIL. Ron Chapman, Hugh Lampton, Jack Schell. I went on many KVIL trips. All three KVIL cruises. In fact one cruse was my honeymoon. I will miss his infectious laugh. And big smile. Most of all I will miss him. R I P Ron, and bless you

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  • April 27, 2021 at 7:11 am
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    Listened to him driving to work for years, making the traffic and trip so pleasant. Years later, at my high school reunion in Houston, it was a surprise to see him walk in with Nance, his wife, who was my classmate in 1958. My husband and I really enjoyed a warm chat with him then, and will always remember the pleasure of listening to his broadcasts in Houston and Dallas.

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  • April 27, 2021 at 5:47 pm
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    I was one of his biggest fans from 1969 until he retired in 2005. I’m trying to find where the family would like Memorial donations made in his name. I’m still in close contact with one of his Sumpin’ Else dancers that wanted to come in for the service. I told her there wasn’t going to be a public service. But if she would be welcome let me know. But either way we’d like to donate to his charity of chose in his name.

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  • April 29, 2021 at 11:11 am
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    Ron did not let his success go to his head. I worked for KVIL as an office clerk. When I got married I could not believe my eyes that Ron and his wide were among my wedding guests. RIP Ron.

    Reply

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