“You have written about that before….”
When you have penned more than 500 blogs over the years it is not a hot news flash that you will cover ground you have plowed before.
Story tellers have a dreadful fear of telling someone a clever, funny story that they have told before. If you are a serial offender I have found that the first time you repeat the story brings a quick facial twitch followed by an enforced patience and a polite laugh. But after that, they cut you off with a quick, “You’ve told me that before.” When that happens, you feel like you are naked at a crowded cocktail party and you hope no one notices. It has happened to me more than … well, a lot.
One of the great story tellers was Ron Chapman, one of the most listened to radio personalities in the southwest over his long distinguished career at KLIF, KVIL and KLUV. He arrived on the air in Dallas in 1959 at KLIF where he became best known for his work with Jack Woods in an on-air partnership that became the first Charlie and Harrigan team in the U.S. Station owner Gordon McClendon knew he had a winner and suddenly Charlie and Harrigan, or Irving and Harrigan teams debuted in Houston, San Antonio and other cities where McClendon owned stations.
While he was terrific at KLIF, in the 1960s he took his game to a whole new level during his 32-year run at KVIL-FM where he dominated the morning drive time for most of his tenure there. When he arrived at KVIL, the station’s ratings were an asterisk, which means most people not only didn’t listen but had no idea there was even a station called KVIL. His style, his ability to tell great little stories, and to connect with people in such a personal way became an approach that dozens of disc jockeys across the country tried to imitate. But there was only one Ron Chapman.
During my college years, he and KVIL were a staple in our dorms, apartments and in our cars. He was a big part of our daily routine. So great was his ability to communicate that he even filled in from time to time for Paul Harvey.
I still remember one of his stories that he shared with his devoted listeners. On the flight home, he went to the toilet. Inside he noticed that a coffee bag was attached to the back of the door. As he exited he asked the flight attendant in the galley why they hung a coffee bag inside the lavatory. To absorb the smells, she replied. Well, he told his audience, I sure hope they don’t reuse it to make coffee.
But alas, if you have ever had airline coffee… now you know the rest of the story.
© 2022 John Gregory Self