The Dallas-Fort Worth radio market has been the home to some of American radio’s all-time greats, including Steve Harvey, Tom Joyner, Kidd Kraddick, and the legendary Ron Chapman. So, what made Chapman so great and why did he leave such an indelible mark on Dallas radio listeners?
- Trust If you asked your listeners to send you $20 with no explanation whatsoever, would they, do it? How many would do it? When Ron Chapman, Morning Host of KVIL in Dallas, Texas, asked his listeners back in 1998 to send $20 to the station, they did to the tune of $240,000. All great relationships are built on trust and Ron Chapman had a bond with his audience like no other. They didn’t ask why he wanted the money, but they trusted him to do something good with it, and he did. Chapman donated all the money to local charities.
- Longevity Forty-five years in one market. Thirty-two of them at the same station.
- Know and Respect your Audience Ron Chapman never talked down to his audience, he spoke to them. A fellow KVIL DJ said “Chapman helped transform radio in Dallas into a shining example of what the media can do and should be. The individuality, the uniqueness. Ron was one of those guys who made Dallas better place to live.”
- Insisted on Greatness Ron Chapman also served as KVIL’s Program Director and he was committed to getting the best of every member of his team and saw it as his responsibility to make KVIL great. Former staffer Jody Dean shared “If he thought you had an iota of talent, and you wound up on the station, the expectations for you were enormous. And you were supposed to live up to them. The maddest he ever got at me were those times that I delivered less than the best.”
- Guardian of the Brand When it came to his precious radio station, Ron Chapman was fiercely protective of his listeners and the KVIL brand and would allow nothing to offend his female target.
- FOMO Chapman’s was famous for his outrageous on-air stunts including broadcasting live while skydiving, covering a camel race in the Sahara and mounting a treasure hunt with clues on hidden tape recorders to win tickets to Hawaii.
- Committed to Win Remaining #1 is far more difficult than getting there, and KVIL, under Chapman, was #1 for nearly 13 years. Chapman was guilty of living and breathing KVIL 24/7. It’s reported he worked on his show twelve or more hours a day.
- A Friend More than anything, Chapman was a friend and each morning he sent his listeners off to work happy and chipper, so that each in their own little way would help make a kinder, gentler Dallas.
Ron Chapman’s dominance in Dallas didn’t come easy nor quickly, and what he built at KVIL became the envy of many. May Ron Chapman’s legacy continues to inspire personalities, shows and stations across the country to build something far greater than a show or a station, and creating something that makes an indelible mark on the people in their own communities.
Ken Benson is a multi-award-winning contemporary radio and music television programmer. Today, Ken is a co-founder and partner of P1 Media Group, providing insights and strategies to leading media companies around the world. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org