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Radio Online's Ron Chase Celebrates 50 Years in Radio


Ron Chase
Ron Chase

This month, RADIO ONLINE's Cofounder, Publisher and Managing Editor Ron Chase marks a major milestone as he celebrates 50 years in radio. We took a look back at his remarkable journey and talked with some of the people who know him best.

In June of 1970, 16-year-old Ron Chase began his radio career when he first cracked the mic at KPUR-AM in Amarillo, Texas. By 1976, FM radio was finally branching out from the AOR stereotype and Ron launched crosstown KQIZ-FM as "Z93," the market's first Top 40 music outlet on the FM band.

Ron Chase at KPUR in 1971 (photo credit: Ronn Wood)

His wife, Lisa Chase, recalls, "Ron introduced Amarillo to FM Top 40 radio by putting Z-93 on-the-air with intense promotion including giving away FM converters for your car, playing the best music in the Texas Panhandle and publishing weekly surveys. Z-93 was new, fun and the most exciting thing to happen to Amarillo since the railroads."

Ron Chase at FRED Magazine in 1978 (photo credit: Ronn Wood)

By 1978 Ron had become Managing Editor of FRED magazine, a popular trade publication of the day, published by Bob Hamilton and Buzz Bennett. He also published his own trade sheet "The Cue Sheet." In the early 80's, he found himself working with the legendary Mitch Craig at the William B. Tanner Company in Memphis, before returning to radio programming that included a second stint at Z93.

In 1984, Ron and Lisa launched Supertraxx Production-Services, best known for its syndicated IDs and Sweepers package "Digitizers" - voiced by John Young, and then later Charlie Van Dyke. It was the late Michigan programmer and voice-over talent Jay J. McCrae (aka Jay Glass) who first suggested acquiring a modem for the company's computer system - a move that would prove life-changing and ultimately lead to the creation of RADIO ONLINE.

Ron Chase at KIIQ/Colorado Springs in 1982 (photo credit: Kendall Dunaway)

Now, immersed in the "high-tech" world of dial-up computer phone modems, Ron and Lisa quickly became interested in Bulletin Board Systems - an early forerunner to the internet. Mentoring under Samuel H. Smith, Ron wrote his own BBS software and hand-built the accompanying computer servers. Utilizing those servers and software, in 1989 the Chases launched the RADIO ONLINE brand - an industry first at the time. Ron has never used a web page editor and now speaks five programming languages fluently.

While radio experienced sweeping changes over the decades that followed, RADIO ONLINE continued to grow and remains a major player in the industry today.

"Some days it feels like a 24/7 job," says Ron, "but I wouldn't have it any other way." When he does find free time, he enjoys relaxing with Lisa and their two cats, Gracie & Raphael. Also dear to his heart are his beloved Dallas Cowboys, vegetarian Tex-Mex, and his Christian faith.

"It's hard to fathom how quickly 50 years goes by," said Ron. "I guess that's what happens when you're having fun. I will be forever humbled and appreciative to our subscribers, supporters, advertisers, clients and our wonderful staff. This year has been tough on radio but we are determined to do everything on our power to help the industry get back on its feet and continue as a vital part of America's media landscape."

  • "Ron Chase is a consummate professional whose focus and commitment to creating great content is unparalleled. Happy 50th Anniversary in the business, Ron."

    -- Mike McVay, President McVay Media

  • "The dictionary should have a photo of Ron under the definition of tenacity. I've been his wife for forty years and lived with his focus and determination. Before we met he was the air talent who owned 7 to midnight. He devastated a young teen who called to request Donny Osmond's 'Puppy Love' by literally breaking the record on-the-air. I married him anyway- though we had to pick a wedding day that didn't interfere with ratings."

    -- Lisa Chase, CoFounder RADIO ONLINE

  • "First, I consider Ron a good friend and I've always considered him one of the brightest minds in radio that I've known through my career. Programming, production, and needless to say the success with Radio Online. Hope he is a contributor for many more years!

    -- Mitch Craig, President Mitch Craig Productions

  • "Ron Chase is one of Radio's premier journalists who has chronicled the industry and evolution of our medium in a truly incomparable way. I have had the great honor and pleasure of working with Ron since 1996 - almost half of his 50 incredible years serving the radio industry. His tremendous professionalism, integrity, humor and gift for telling Radio's stories every day through Radio Online have distinguished Ron and Radio Online as among Radio's very best. He is truly in a league of his own. Thanks, Ron, for your commitment to the industry and medium we love, and for 50 golden years sharing your talents, stories and life with us. Here's to the next 50!"

    -- Lisa Dollinger, CEO Dollinger Strategic Communication

  • "Ron is the only guy I've known for a hundred years that I've never met face to face. Instead I just call him with a computer issue. He explains to me how to fix it - it all sounds Greek to me - but then my problem is handled! Happy 50th Ron! Let's meet for coffee soon - yeah, right! Ha!"

    -- Don Anthony, President Talentmasters & MSBC

  • "Because Ron was good enough to be promoted to ‘the night guy,' my radio dreams took flight on the overnight shift. Because Ron had the vision and confidence to approach the ownership that held a CP for a 100,000 watt FM signal in our hometown, and convince them that as PD he could put together a team that could make magic happen, my radio dreams rode the stairway to the Morning Show and he took the station to No. 1 with a bullet. Because Ron pursued his passion for the radio industry and took a position in the publishing world, my radio dreams to be a PD were realized and I had no idea the shoes to fill were so big. Ron was, is, and will continue to be, a dream maker for me and countless others who reach for the stars."

    -- Joe Geoffrey, Voice Actor & KRBG-FM Station Manager

  • "I've been friends with Ron Chase for 48 years and he is one of the most intelligent and savvy radio guys I have ever known. I have worked with him and competed with him. I've got to tell you, it's a lot better working with him because he was a tough competitor."

    -- Danny Alexander, Retired Radio Maverick

  • "Thanks Ron, for hiring me (even though I bribed his girlfriend at the time to make him listen to my aircheck), for my name, being a great roomie, and being everything that Radio was meant to be. Ron Chase is one cool cat. A Wizard, A true Star. Congrats my brother and friend. Let's go do it again. Oh, and he was an awesome PD."

    --Kidd Manning, Afternoons, Boss Country Radio

  • Wow Ron... 50 years! When I first arrived in Amarillo to take the PD's chair at Z-93 Ron was one of the first to welcome me to town. His valuable insight on the market and his skills with Supertraxx Production Services gave me the boost I needed to take that radio station to the next level. I'd give him a concept and a voice track, and he would turn it into something spectacular. Together, we made great radio and he's one of the big reasons I'll always look back on my days in Amarillo as some of the best in my career. Over the years, a lot of radio publications have come and gone, but Radio Online continues to thrive, thanks to Ron's knowledge, passion, tenacity and desire to stay ahead of the curve. Congratulations my friend!

    --Peter Stewart, Stewart Media Solutions

  • "Ron & I first connected when my morning show was part of his show prep bulletin board that he grew into the monster it is today. He's kept this incredibly useful tool for jocks around the world going, even through tough times. Ron has done so much for the industry and given me the platform I need to write marginally funny jokes. I'm very proud of being part of the ROL team!"

    -- Tim Hunter, RADIO ONLINE Show Prep/Comedy Writer

  • "Ron is such an industry leader. Back during my morning show days, RADIO ONLINE was an invaluable part of my show prep and radio career. I joined the writing staff almost 20 years ago and it's been a joy every step of the way. Amazingly, I've known Ron over half of my life but, living thousands of miles apart, we've never met in person. One day we'll fix that - when I'm sure he doesn't have coronavirus and he's willing to take me to a real Texas steakhouse."

    -- Sander Walker, RADIO ONLINE News & Show Prep Editor

Congratulate Ron via email.

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