The Story of Ron Chapman, Sharon Carr Travel & the KVIL World Tour
By Casey Carr
Jan 3, 2017
Long before the KLUV World Tour, our travel program began as the KVIL World Tour, pioneered by my parents and Dallas Radio legend Ron Chapman. This is the story of how a chance encounter lead to a close friendship that would span four decades, and a revolutionary radio travel program that is in it’s 46th year.
Origins with Ron Carr Travel
I talked with my mom and dad about how our relationship with Ron Chapman and KVIL came to be. Many of you might not remember that our agency began as Ron Carr Travel, mom and dad ran it together for several years until they split, dad left the business and it became Sharon Carr Travel. Dad had worked for Braniff until he started the agency:
“Braniff had a membership in a civic club called the Cosmopolitan Club and they assigned me as the Braniff member. It was an early version of a networking club. We met monthly at noon in the Dallas Athletic Club. When I left Braniff in May 1968 I kept the membership and opened an agency in the 211 N. Ervay building.
A member of the Cosmopolitan Club was a man named Bob Hanna, general manager of KVIL. Hanna was the consummate promoter. Of anything and everything. I told him I was going to come talk to him about travel and he said to come on, so I went to see him in late 1970. That is the first time I met Ron Chapman. He, Jack Schell, and Hugh Lampman were the three KVIL DJs.
About that time Braniff began 747 non-stop service to Honolulu. The plane had 360 seats I think. In 1970 that was a big deal. They started the 747 in Jan 1971. Chapman called me one day. Braniff had sent the media a press release about a group fare to Honolulu that required 154 passengers. I went out to see him, we called a Braniff VP he knew about the possibility of a promotion. We also found out Sheraton was building the Sheraton Waikiki to open that summer, so we put together a 6 Night Package and sold it for $294.
The day Ron went on the air with it, we were at the office at 7:00 a.m. with our 4 phone lines, pens, and lots of 4×6 reservation cards. By the end of the day we were well past the 154 group requirement. The departure was on a Friday. By the second day I added more seats on Saturday. In all we took over 600 people on the trips along with all three DJs and Suzy Humphrey.
I went to Honolulu a day early to tend to details with my tour operator and the hotel. On Friday they had the official ribbon cutting at the hotel. When they turned on the power it blew out electricity all along Waikiki beach, including the Sheraton. When the group arrived we checked them in by candlelight at the front desk. People, including the local Dallas travel industry, talked about the promotion for days afterwards. I became a popular guy in the industry.”
Sharon takes over the KVIL World Tour
Though the program was born with my dad, it was my mom Sharon Carr who was ultimately the voice of the KVIL World Tour and made it what it would eventually become. I asked for her thoughts about the end of KVIL:
“Hearing that KVIL is going away is kind of like losing a little piece of my past. My relationship with KVIL and Ron Chapman began in the mid 70’s and in 1999, when Ron decided to move to KLUV, we moved with him and became the KLUV World Tour. We made so many great friends: Mitch Carr, Jody Dean, Michael Ray, Suzie Humphreys, Jack Schell, Larry Dixon… I mean the list goes on.
My first time on air with Ron was in 1984, Robert Redford had just opened Sundance Ski Resort and their group department knew of our program, they reached out to us and we sent 300 people.
I took the group out there and spent the first night of the trip in the Emergency Room with 3 of our passengers who’d injured themselves on the mountain. By the end of the trip we had 7 injuries total, and I was number 7. In the lobby of the resort, the staff had a running tally on a white board: Wasatch Mountain – 7, KVIL – 0
Our next trip was a cruise with Ted Koppel, and then I introduced Europe to the KVIL audience and it was off to the races. We were selling a week in Paris, a week in London at prices like $599 and that lasted all through the 90’s. Those deals will never be seen again unfortunately, but we are still sending people every year on low cost quality vacations with Jody Dean and the KLUV World Tour.
Together Ron and I estimate we sent over 200,000 KVIL/KLUV listeners all over the world, and the KVIL World Tour became an iconic promotional feature that was often imitated, never duplicated.
Ron and I had so much fun talking about different destination on his morning show and we both made such great friends when he or I hosted different trips. It was an amazing association and I will be forever grateful for the opportunity. All that time, Ron Chapman was my mentor but more importantly he was my best friend. We still talk often, he and Nance are traveling and enjoying their well deserved retirement.”