Dallas has lost a radio icon.
Ron Chapman died on April 26 at the age of 85. His radio career spanned decades, including 31 years at Dallas’ KVIL station.
He was born Ralph F. Chapman, son of Walter and Katie F. (MacDougall) Chapman, on Jan. 25, 1936, in Newton, Mass. The family, which also included his brother James and sister Florence, moved to Haverhill in the 1930s where Chapman’s father owned Riverside Variety Store.
Chapman’s career began on his high school graduation day in 1953 at WHAV in Haverhill, Massachusetts, Chapman’s hometown. Six years later, he returned to Texas, and his career in the Dallas-Fort Worth area began.
“Dallas radio legend Ron Chapman dies at 85. Many of us grew up listening to him on #KVIL. RIP to a #NTX legend,” wrote Dallas County judge Clay Jenkins, in a tweet on April 26.
From 1965 to 1968, Chapman hosted a television dance show for teens called “Sump’N Else.” In 1969, he moved to KVIL, where he spent 32 years. There, he took on the adult contemporary format and his morning show dominated the airwaves for decades. Occasionally, he’d pull an on-air stunt, like broadcasting as he went skydiving, in late 1981.
During his time at KVIL, Chapman was the program director, music director, morning personality, and promotion director. He also put in five years at KLUV-FM, and six years at KLIF, co-hosting the successful “Charlie & Harrigan Show” as Irving Harrigan before joining WFAA-TV.
Chapman was inducted into the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2010 and into the Radio Hall of Fame in 2012.