Entertainment & Living

One of DFW’s most familiar voices is hanging up his mic — on his morning radio show

Jody Dean, who has been a fixture on DFW radio and television since the ‘70s, announced Monday morning that he will step down as morning-show host on KLUV/98.7, effective Friday.

But he stressed that he is not retiring.

“In fact I’m not even leaving KLUV,” Dean said during his show. “However, I am leaving this morning show. After 13 years, this will be my last week as part of it. Friday will be my last day. Thursday, you’ll meet my replacement, and Friday morning I’ll have a few more things to say about all this.”

That announcement had been teased for more than a week — even months, Dean said. It was brief and then the show went to commercial.

Nothing was said about any changes for Rebekah Black and David Rancken, the other main cast members of “Jody Dean and the Morning Team.”

Dean has dropped hints about a change during the past few weeks on his JodyDean.com Facebook page.

“1978, KACU,” he wrote in an Aug. 29 post with a picture of himself at the board at the Abilene Christian University radio statio. “From the moment [in ‘American Graffiti’ when] @RichardDreyfuss looked up to see that tower outside Wolfman Jack’s station disappear into the night sky, it’s been all I ever wanted to do.”

He also has posted photos of a studio under construction in his back yard, where he plans to do voice work and possibly podcasts. You may still hear him on the radio doing voice-over work on commercials.

Dean, a Fort Worth native, began his broadcasting career at 13, volunteering as a monster and makeup/special-effects crewman on “The Museum of Horrors,” a Saturday-night creature-feature show on what was then WBAP/Channel 5. At the time, Channel 5 shared a building with radio stations WBAP/820 AM and KSCS/96.3 FM. After his TV gig, he’d go hang out in the radio studio with people like Bill Mack, the Dallas-Fort Worth radio legend who hosted The Midnight Cowboy Trucking Show on 820 AM for more than 30 years.

Dean would go on to college at Abilene Christian University, working at the campus radio station, and he would cut his professional teeth at stations such as Granbury’s KPAR, Fort Worth’s KXOL and Dallas’ KLIF. When Billy Bob’s Texas opened in April 1981, Dean got a job there as DJ and rodeo announcer. He was 21. Although he was fired after an incident in which (by his own recollection) he got so drunk that he passed out in the middle of a rodeo, Billy Bob’s proved pivotal for Dean because that’s where he met Ron Chapman.

In the ’70s and the early ’80s, Chapman was the DJ to beat in Dallas-Fort Worth. He was the driving force behind KVIL.

Shortly after Billy Bob’s opened in spring 1981, Chapman and then-KVIL jock Larry Dixon dropped by Billy Bob’s to check out the club. Dean saw his chance, as Chapman recalled in a 2004 Star-Telegram profile of Dean:

“We ran into this kid who recognized us, and he said: ‘My God! You’re Ron Chapman, and you’re Larry Dixon!’ And he just started talking about radio. Everything he said was radio,” Chapman said.

Dean was doing double duty back then as well, working shifts at Granbury’s KPAR along with his Billy Bob’s job. Chapman asked him to send an audition tape, which Chapman later told the Star-Telegram was “godawful.” Dean persisted till he got an overnight slot at KVIL. During the next few years, Dean would work various shifts at the station. Until 1987, when the station’s owner heard him during a 7-to- midnight shift and thought it would be a good idea to pair him with Chapman.

Chapman and Dean worked together till 1994, when Dean was offered a talk show of his own on KVIL’s sister station, KRLD/1080 AM. Chapman said they clicked because, as a sidekick, Dean knew just what to say to get Chapman to shine. Chapman said Dean was like Paul Shaffer to his David Letterman.

Dean’s KRLD talk show folded, but he moved into the morning slot, co-anchoring a news program with Jack Hines. In 1997, he was lured back to TV to host “Positively Texas,” an afternoon talk show on KTVT/Channel 11. The show never gained ratings traction, but he stayed on as a reporter, and when the station launched a 4 p.m. newscast in January 2004, he was named co-anchor along with market newcomer Maria Arita.

In June 2005, after Chapman, then the morning-show host at KLUV, announced his retirement, Dean was the logical choice to take his place. Not long after Dean’s arrival, Chuck Brinkman, who had been program director since 1988, left the station. During the past 13 years, it has morphed from an oldies station where you might hear Herman’s Hermits and Paul Revere and the Raiders to a “classi hits” station where you might hear Smash Mouth and Hootie & the Blowfish, newer material replacing the old as demographics shift. (One of KLUV’s HD Radio channels, KLUV HD-2, plays a format similar to what KLUV used to sound like).

Dean has made numerous speaking and emceeing appearances, and was even a guest judge in the Star-Telegram’s 2017 Battle of the Burgers.

September has been an unusually busy month in DFW morning radio. At the beginning of the month, “Smooth R&B” KRNB/105.7 FM dropped the “Steve Harvey Morning Show”; his replacement, the locally based “The Morning Rush” with comedian Rudy Rush and former “Real Housewives of Atlanta” cast member Claudia Jordan, started Monday.

And Nathan Fast, who came to DFW in early 2017 to become the new morning-show host at KVIL/103.7 FM, only to get blown out in a KVIL format change 10 months later, took over as morning-show host on KPLX/99.5 FM “The Wolf” (a show that’s had its own share of turnover) on Sept. 17.