Dallas radio icon Ron Chapman dead at 85

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DALLAS, Texas (KETK) – North Texas radio icon Ron Chapman has died at age 85.

According to our sister station in Dallas, Chapman spent more than four decades on air in the DFW region.

His radio career started the day he graduated high school, hitting the airwaves in 1953 for WHAV in Haverhill, Massachusetts, where he grew up. He then spent two years on Armed Forces radio in Korea before working in Connecticut.

Chapman moved to Texas in 1959, though he didn’t immediately introduce himself. He was on KLIF as the on-air persona “Irving Harrigan.” There, he teamed up with Charlie Brown (Jack Woods) on the Charlie and Harrigan Show playing records and performing voices in skits.

From 1965-1968, he hosted the “Sump’N Else” teen television dance show, which was similar in format to Dick Clark’s American Bandstand.

Just a year after that, Chapman moved to KVIL where he led the morning drive with the “adult contemporary” format. His morning show became a behemoth, dominating ratings for decades.

In a 1987 clip of his show posted on the Radio Hall of Fame, Chapman can be heard talking about the sale of his radio station to Infinity Broadcasting. He said that it sold for more than $82 million.

Chapman was also known for his positive humor and on-air stunts. One of his stunts, reported on by NBC 5 in Dallas, included him broadcasting live while skydiving. In another instance, he asked his listeners to send in $20. Days later the station had received more than $244,000 in cash, which they donated to a local charity.

He retired from KVIL in September 2000 and moved to an oldies station called KLUV. He stayed at KLUV until he retired again in 2005.

In 2007, he filled in for fellow broadcasting legend Paul Harvey on his twice-daily program “The Rest of the Story.”

He was inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2010 and the Radio Hall of Fame in 2012.

According to a statement shared by the Texas Radio Hall of Fame, Chapman’s 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.”

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