10 Questions with ... Ron Chavis
April 12, 2016
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
I'll just quote from my website: "Ron Chavis is a freelance radio and TV commercial producer/director/writer/performer with an impressive client history. Ron has received both the Silver Microphone and Telly Awards.
Ron's radio history spans three decades, and includes #1 ratings as show host at major market FMs ... including: WKLS/Atlanta, KZOK/Seattle, WAMO/Pittsburgh and KRNB/Dallas.
In 1997, Ron founded the advertising/multi-media production group, Chavis Sterling Media Partners, before returning to Radio in Dallas, in 2006 at Service Broadcasting.
Ron began performing simultaneously at Cumulus Media Network in 2009, where he served as radio host and voice-imaging artist on over 100 stations in the USA on its Westwood One Radio Network. Ron's writing skills came into play when he quadrupled Westwood's "The Touch Radio" social media participation, after assuming the responsibility in 2014."
Ron's radio career began at ABC's WDVE/Pittsburgh, which is also the city where he held his first job in TV, on the set of PBS's Mister Rogers.
1) What new projects are you working on?
I'm very excited to be acting as not just talent, but agency, for major Pittsburgh Personal Injury Attorneys, Ogg, Murphy and Perkosky: "The Firm." I've been given tremendous liberty with everything from copywriting, and the enlisted the talents of incredible friends and artists who have created everything from original music imaging to powerful graphics. We've got billboards up all over town, and we're getting a tremendous response from Radio (CBS' KDKA-A and The Fan) on a spot that began running in January. We've also created double page and tab ads that are running via both Dex Media, and HIBU (Yellow Pages/YellowBook).
What's amazing is that thanks to everything being digital, some members of my team are here in Dallas, and others in Seattle and Pittsburgh, and there's been zero travel involved. I'll see our client physically, for the first time since the project began, in January, when I'll fly into the 'Burgh to direct a new TV spot.
As far as independent voice work goes, I had the honor last month of completing a narration (promotional video) for top motivational speaker, David Sarkus, "The Safety Coach." I'm performing an ongoing series of narrations for Shale Corridor, in Pennsylvania.
2) How do you see the future of Internet radio?
It's hard to overstate the impact of the demise of "Live 365" earlier this year, and its crushing impact on folks who enjoyed the freedom to create and listen to independent Internet stations, operated at affordable prices. In a world where broadcast radio and ALL television is dominated by a few major corporations, the sudden disappearance of over 5000 "voices" using the Live 365 platform, is a solemn omen. In fact, it's like something out of "The Omen."
3) What has surprised you about radio these days?
Too much creative control in the hands of too few.
4) How do you think this should be addressed?
A return at local broadcast outlets to use of research methodologies as tools, rather than strict, applicative dogma. If I ruled the world, local radio would be very locally insightful and CREATIVE in every respect ... including music "programming" and especially radio host performance. But ... I don't.
5) Are you interested in working in radio again?
That depends. The idea of picking up and moving to another city is very precarious now, compared to just 10 years ago. I'm out on that one. I love my life in Dallas. I can't thank Service Broadcasting's Hyman Childs enough, for inviting me here back in 2006. On another note, let me express my gratitude to Carl Anderson, Mike Love and Hollywood Hernandez for introducing me to the world of voicetracking, and nationally syndicated radio at (then) Citadel Broadcasting starting in 2009. I miss performing radio as a craft, and I'd jump at the chance to voicetrack any format within my expertise. For a fair price. Thank God, I'm at a place where I can refuse work that would not bring me a great deal of joy to perform.
6) Over your long career, who stands out as the most insightful mind in radio?
7) What do you think are the primary keys to becoming a successful radio host?
- Talent (It used to be a prerequisite.)
- Repeated exposure behind the mic.
- Positive relationships inside the industry.
8) What is your advice to talent currently working who fear for their jobs?
First, congratulations on reaching an insightful concern. My answer, in short, is lean on the talents that brought you to employment in radio to create outside money-making possibilities. The "cheese" is moving faster than ever. Always value family over fleeting fame, and your plans will come along naturally. Last: Angels never retire: In fact, one has always been watching over you, or you'd never have made money so easily as in radio in the first place.
9) What would you say to great Radio Talents who have been fired for seemingly arbitrary reasons?
Well ... First I'd say, if you love what you do, keep at it. It saddens me that so many tremendous talents I've known over the years have quit radio due to bad people and experiences. It'll dog you forever if you leave. And it hurts the public really, when folks with a true love of people, and proclivity as talent, are replaced by power-driven wanna-bes who somehow thrive on mostly just a penchant for furthering themselves. You notice, they seem to multiply like rabbits. How many of us have heard, "We're letting you go because you don't fit the direction we're now going." The translation is often, "I've never liked you as a person, and this is my first best chance to deliver a dagger to your soul." Don't be bitter, inasmuch as you can help it. And don't quit the business forever. Let me tell you in dead earnestness ... and looking back through a 40-year-deep rearview mirror: I can assure you that these prophetic words are true for all people of good heart: "Though you search for your enemies, you will not find them. Those who wage war against you will be as nothing at all." Remember, the few like you who have not sold their souls ... are the only reason anything worth saying or hearing gets said.
10) Closing thought?
If I can ever be of help to you as a person or a pro, look me up.
Can you tell us how you have been able to work in so many different formats?
It's all about the listener. Human beings share common feelings, interests and desires, no matter the music. As a show host, I've tried to get to the heart of people as best I can, and taking it to a level that's just a little "bigger than life." I think this should be every personality's goal.
Do you have a favorite radio memory? Something you either heard growing up or something you participated in?
Seattle 1978, a fellow jock left a side of Hendrix playing, while he took the elevator down six flights to get burger. He forgot his keys. A photo turned up on the front page of the paper next day, because he called the fire department, who sent a truck so he could climb the ladder to the studio window.