I was 10 when I first heard Ron Chavis on a new thing called FM radio.
My friend Tina and I were strongly influenced by older siblings and
what was going on in general around us in the world. The Viet Nam war
played out nightly on tv; FM music was the soundtrack to our coming of
age. People like Ron, Jessie and Little Jimmy Roach gave us bright
ideas that it might be more fun to play music than to be child
psychologists, teachers or nurses, etc.
When I was in college as a psychology/media student, Ron and Steve
Downs were on WYDD and none of us wanted on air shifts or to read
news at the college station up against them. In Atlanta a few years
later, I heard him there, then back in Pittsburgh on WAMO. His voice
was always so easy to pick out on radio or tv ads. For about 14 months
in 2004-05, he brought his nightly show to a little mountain station in
the sticks 5 minutes from here. He started out playing ballads and love
songs, but blended in some guitar songs from his AOR days and blues--
in particular, Roy Buchanan and Boz Scaggs/Duane Allamon got my
attention. We talked and he started to play Pittsburgh artists such as
Jill West, Bobby Wayne and Erin Burkett. I continued to give him
bizarre and funny news stories and then wrote this following article on
him. After it went to press, he asked me to write a book with him and
regretfully, I had to decline.
Recently, I had to go to Texas, jumped into a rental car and instinctly
turned on a radio. Without changing a station, I heard that familiar
voice. There he was...The Nighttime Dog. The fine people of Texas
are fortunate to have him. We miss him here in the sticks outside of
|Chavis' Audience for 'The Original
Quiet Storm' Continues To Grow
By Julie Toye, for The Herald Standard
Legendary Pittsburgh radio personality Ron Chavis' audience continues to grow since he
returned to the airways weeknights to host "Nightflight: The Original Quiet Storm."
An internationally known voice on radio, television, and non-broadcast items like Sony
Play Station, Chavis does not simply come on nightly and bid his listeners a quiet good
evening at 9 PM on WLSW FM 104.
Each show starts in grand Chavis fashion with his dramatic trademark opening
resurrected from his days on WAMO FM. He discloses being born in the basement of a
steel mill and baptized in the Monongahela River.
Chavis tells his listeners and that he's one of the last of the original Pittsburgh DJs and
lets them know that they are tuned into the continuing saga of the adventures of his nom
de plume, The Nighttime Dog. His monologue fades to the start of his Smooth Jazz
theme music. On most nights, an introduction by a sexy female voice and comedic
exchange between the two follow.
Meanwhile, Chavis is alone in the mountain top radio station studio with his black lab
dog, Easy, talking over breaks in the female's pre-recorded introduction. Often at the
start of his shift, he has already worked a busy day at his internationally recognized
media company, mowed 4 acres or spent some of the day at the gym. He refers to his air
shift as his relaxation time.
'Nightflight' takes off with a mix of Smooth Jazz and R&B Ballad material that starts off
mid to up-tempo and winds down to slow, romantic songs from the genres as the late
night hours unfold. Chavis has no set format and strongly emphasizes that there is no
such thing called "programming" involved. It's not uncommon to hear a slow jam by
rock artist Jeff Beck or a Gospel cross-over artist like Smokie Norful, that somehow
magically fits into the Nightflight musical tapestry.
In between songs, Chavis is quite comfortably at home talking about his day, items in the
news or the songs and artists he plays. It is easy to understand why an area university
professor tells his media students to listen to Chavis to learn their craft.
"This is a living, organic show, never exactly the same from day to day," Chavis
explained. "But that doesn't mean there is no logic or pattern to what I am doing. I'm
setting a mood, creating an ambiance aimed at an adult audience, who can't find what
I'm delivering anywhere this side of San Diego. The Nighttime Dog is the Delilah After
Dark for people 35 Plus."
As long as the music "deserves to be played" within his selected musical genres, he
features songs that are sometimes little known by major or even local artists. Chavis said
that WLSW owner Stan Wall allowed him the "freedom from behind the microphone"
that motivated him to return to radio and set his sights on an ambitious goal to take his
show to syndication or world wide web/internet radio.
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