|Jody Skywalker and Darth Chapman.
illustration by Allen Crawford/Plankton Art Co.
Radio legend Ron Chapman, who helped pioneer the “oldies” format in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, came out of retirement earlier this year. He didn’t go back to the station he left, KLUV-FM (98.7). Chapman helped launch a new oldies station—KPMZ-FM (Platinum 96.7)—that took dead aim at his previous employer. Now it looks like his efforts may be paying off. In the summer Arbitron Trend rankings among 35- to 64-year-olds from 6 am to 10 am—the heart of the morning-drive audience—Platinum nabbed a 1.1 rating while KLUV scored a 4.9, down significantly from a 7.1 in the last ranking period.
It makes for an odd and slightly uncomfortable battle, since Chapman was once the mentor of Jody Dean, his successor as KLUV’s morning-drive guy. Dean likens the radio legend to former Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre. “Favre came out of retirement and has had some success with the New York Jets, but I don’t know that they’re going to the Super Bowl,” Dean says, via e-mail. Then he adds: “Ron also retired—even though I told him not to—but then came back. (He never listens to me!) So it’s a little like Dad giving the family business to his son, then coming back and starting a competing business.”
Chapman himself downplays the rivalry. He says he’s not being paid, that he’s just helping a friend (Farid Suleman, CEO and chairman of the station’s owner, Citadel Broadcasting), and that he’s merely doing the station’s branding. “Jody Dean and I are friends,” he says. “I am not in the business of trying to knock Jody Dean off. I want you to hear that loud and clear. Because I’m not on the air opposite him. I’m the wizard behind the curtain.”
Soon enough, we’ll have a more accurate way of determining a winner. In late September, Arbitron changed the way it collects radio ratings. Instead of using the traditional diary system, the service is now using a device called a Portable People Meter, which gathers every radio signal the wearer is exposed to throughout the day. The information is sent directly to Arbitron. The first Dallas ratings book under the new system debuts in December.
THE D MAGAZINE CURSE
A little more than a year ago, we ran Paul Kix’s story about Southlake and its hyper-successful high school football team, the Carroll Dragons. Since then, here is what has happened:
Almost immediately after the story hit newsstands, Carroll’s 49-game winning streak was snapped.
Former Southlake Carroll coach Todd Dodge—who left to take over at the University of North Texas—has (as of this writing) gone 2-18.
Quarterback Riley Dodge, one of the most sought-after recruits in the state, decommitted from the University of Texas to play for his dad at UNT. At UT, he could have been learning at the strong right arm of Colt McCoy (one of the frontrunners in the race for the Heisman Trophy) while experiencing the thrill of being on the No. 1 team in the country. Well played, Riley.
In October 2008, Carroll’s 38-game district winning streak was snapped, and they dropped from national polls.
Missouri QB Chase Daniel, a Carroll grad and previously the presumptive Heisman winner, lost two games in a row, and didn’t look especially sharp in either.
Also, Kix left his job at D to become a senior editor at Boston magazine, an upgrade in salary and title, but a downgrade in terms of hearing the letter “r” pronounced remotely correctly and not having every sports fan in the universe hate you with a volcanic passion. People of the greater Boston area, if you see “P. Kix” on your caller ID, go ahead and get your affairs in order.