To tell the truth, I’m at a loss for what to write.
I guess, therefore, that I’ll tell you how all this happened.
To say Ron Chapman is a broadcast legend is more than an understatement. From his days as Radio’s original “Irving Harrigan” to his retirement from the airwaves in 2005, Ron was Dallas-Fort Worth’s daily companion, comic, counselor and comforter. For 45 years, in fact – spanning generations. The teams of which he was a part and which he led changed the idiom – completely. More importantly, he changed a lot of lives.
It’s probably hard for anyone younger than 30 to grasp what Radio was like back then. When I try to explain it now people look at me as if I just stepped off an alien spacecraft. Even (and sometimes especially) when it comes to people within the Radio industry itself. Wait, your station once gave away six new cars in one day? You gave away new homes? Trips around the world? People once sent your a station a quarter-of-a million dollars – no questions asked – simply because a deejay asked them to?
Yes. Yes, they did.
The reason was simple. At one time it was estimated that 1 in every 4 cars in Dallas-Fort Worth sported the famous red-white-and-blue “I Love KVIL” bumper sticker, with a big red heart in place of the word “love”. One car out of every four. When someone asked how that was remotely possible, Ron’s answer was succinctly true: “First you make them love you. Then you create the sticker.”
I still occasionally see cars with the sticker on them now, almost thirty-five years later.
So a few months ago as I was wrapping up my time with my most recent radio employer, I got a call from Ron. He was interested in doing one more episode of “Dusty Attics” – a show originally conceived and hosted by the late Sandi Hopkins, my wonderful predecessor as Ron’s Morning Show producer at KVIL. I was a little surprised. As you likely may know, Ron had a stroke not many years ago. What once seemed to flow so easily now requires more deliberation and energy. When I asked him if he was sure he wanted to be on the radio again, his answer was typically Chapman-esque:
“Oh, I think I can still carry you for an hour.”
Sadly, we weren’t able to make our schedules work before I departed the radio station. Hence, this edition…here on my website.
If this is your first encounter with the web-version of “Dusty Attics”, an explainer: the show deals with the favorite songs of people we know and the stories behind them. Each guest gives me a list of those favorite songs, and then we sit down and talk. Here on jodydean.com, the show is constructed slightly differently than it would be on-the-air. The interview is cut up into segments, with the YouTube version of each song interspersed between. So as you reach the end of each segment, you can simply click on the following YouTube video to hear the song. Whether you’re listening at home, in traffic, or on the treadmill, I hope you’ll find that convenient.
In an effort to save bandwidth (and your time), you’ll find links attached herein for further information regarding both Dallas-Fort Worth’s Radio and KVIL’s illustrious Radio history – and more information on Ron himself. Just his number of awards, accolades and recognitions alone would take up much more than a few pages – and at the end of all this you’ll also find some lovely chestnuts and memories of a broadcasting era cherished by many. I’ve also included one of KVIL’s most famous jingles from back in the day, that now in retrospect seems ever more prescient. I hope you’ll enjoy all the goodies. I know I do.
So, without further ado, a new episode of “Dusty Attics” – with special guest, Ron Chapman.
It will be as you’ve never heard him before. In fact, it’s as I’ve never heard him before.
Ron Chapman’s legendary $20 announcement from March, 1988.
Within three days listeners had sent in more that $240,000. We had to beg them to stop sending checks.
Two things worth noting: back then, no one had any fear about writing “$20” on an envelope – and we never gave our street address. In those days KVIL was so big the Postal Service knew where we were without having to use it. Simply giving the Zip Code was enough.