Music 04

Ronald Sterling Chavis

December 1, 1951 ~ October 8, 2021 (age 69)

Obituary

Legendary, lyrical, and loved, Ron Chavis, the iconic voice of Pittsburgh and nationwide radio, peacefully went home to the Lord on October 8, 2021. 

Nicknamed  “Rockin’ Ron” by famed rocker Norm Nardini, Ron began his more than four-decade radio and voice-acting career while a journalism and communications student at Pittsburgh’s Point Park University. “I stumbled into radio,” said Ron during a 2008 interview with All Access, the web’s largest radio and music industry community. “My first week at college I bumped into a childhood friend who was working at the school station. I visited there and it’s been radio ever since.”

From college Ron was recruited to 102.5 FM WDVE, where he not only learned the art of “working a mic” but also became the country’s first full time Black radio host at a major market rock station. With the help of Ron’s seductive voice, which captivated audiences and transcended racial divides, WDVE became the most successful FM radio station in Pittsburgh throughout the 1970s.

During the 70s, Ron also graced the airwaves at Pittsburgh’s 104.7 FM WYDD, where he was radio host and radio/television commercial producer before leaving the station to join major market FM WKLS in Atlanta and, later, KZOK, Seattle’s classic rock station.

Ron returned to his hometown of Pittsburgh in the 1980s performing as a longtime on-air personality at 105.9 FM WAMO, which became one of the hottest radio stations in town.  During his tenure at WAMO, the station soared in ratings and Ron’s show often ranked as high as the number two most listened to music radio show at night in Pittsburgh. Ron opened his hallmark show, The Quiet Storm, with his signature introduction:

“I was born in the basement of a steel mill. I was baptized in the Monongahela River. I am one of the last of the original Pittsburgh disc jockeys. To some I am known as the leader of the pack. To others I am known as Racquet Man. Some simply call me Rockin’ Ron. At any rate, these are the continuing adventures of the Nighttime Dog … with music for lovers and music lovers on your favorite radio station.” 

The Nighttime Dog carried the sound of music for lovers and his trademark R&B/smooth jazz into the late night. 

In 1997, Ron founded Chavis/Sterling Media Partners, an advertising/multimedia production company, where he starred as voice-over artist, radio and television commercial producer, director, writer, and performer. His voice was heard on radio and TV for a host of clients including HBO, Cellular One, Universal Studios, Scarface, Steve Harvey radio, and vocal artists Barry White and Robin Thicke, among others. 

Ron returned to radio in 2006 at KRNB in Dallas, Texas. Arbitron Radio Ratings ranked the show as the number two most listened to night show by persons ages 25 through 54 in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. 

In 2008, Ron interviewed “the Bossman,” Pittsburgh’s own Porky Chedwick who passed away in 2014. And in 2009, Ron began serving as radio host and voice-imaging artist on more than 100 stations in the USA on Cumulus Radio Network and Westwood One.

Ron continued to perform as the Nighttime Dog from 2012 through 2015, hosting a syndicated love song show on Cumulus radio. His illustrious performances live on in the memories of millions of loyal listeners. 

The son of the late Clarence Sterling and Charlotte (Bishop) Chavis, Ronald Sterling Chavis was born in Pittsburgh, baptized at McKeesport’s Bethlehem Baptist Church, and raised in Liberty Borough.  He attended grade school at Liberty Elementary and St. Joseph’s Junior Military School, and then Serra Catholic High School in McKeesport. Growing up, he listened to Porky Chedwick and James Brown on a transistor radio and was inspired by the Godfather of Soul’s “Say it loud - I’m Black and I’m Proud.” Brown’s influence was felt in 1989 when Ron, while serving as DJ on WAMO, appointed himself chairman of the Pittsburgh effort to free the multi-Grammy award winning artist, who was serving a six-year jail term on a string of charges.  

Ron is survived by his son London Sterling Chavis; his daughter Charlotte; his sisters Lisa Jeanne Chavis and Virgie (Ray) Harris; his nieces and nephews Jason Chavis, Jamon (Brooke) Chavis, Stacy Chavis, Clarence Chavis III, Darrick Chavis, Julie Didlick, Gail Chavis, Keisha Harris, Kevin Harris, and a host of grand nieces and nephews, cousins, and adoring fans.

Ron was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Beverly Reed, and his brother Clarence Chavis, Jr.

Beyond radio, Ron performed as a freelance commercial voice across the country and in Ireland and Britain. His awards include the prestigious Silver Microphone Award, a nationwide competition that recognizes the best local and regional audio advertising, and two Telly Awards, which honor excellence in television and video direction. Outside of the media realm, Ron also worked at General Motors Corporation/Fisher Body in the late 90s on the production line in West Mifflin, PA.

In addition to his love of Jazz and R&B music, Ron’s interests included watching movies, poetry, cooking, swimming, playing racquetball, and chess.  He was a die hard Steelers fan and enjoyed watching boxing and MMA events.  Over the years, Ron had a number of dogs and cats, and he prided himself on his ability to give them unique names (such as Nelson, Rhema, Easy, and Extra) and bring out their individual personalities.  He always had great relationships with his pets and even posted the following on Facebook following the death of his dog, Easy, “In memory of my best friend Easy 1999-2015 ‘Thanks for looking after me little buddy.’”

Ron had a strong relationship with God and relied heavily on his faith, especially during difficult times.  He always found comfort in the fact that he would one day see his family and friends again in heaven.  Before his death, Ron posted on Facebook, “They say that at the last moments before death, your whole life passes before your eyes.”  What a movie he made.

 

 

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Ronald, please visit our floral store.


Services

Memorial Service
Saturday
November 6, 2021

11:00 AM
Bethlehem Baptist Church
716 Walnut Street
McKeesport, PA 15132

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