|Intro||Canadian broadcaster, musician and writer|
Jim Chapman (born February 10, 1949) is a Canadian radio and TV personality, musician, journalist and author.
Robert James Chapman was born in London, Ontario, Canada on February 10, 1949, a fifth-generation Canadian. Even as a young child he was fascinated by music and writing, both of which became lifelong passions. He attended local schools but dropped out in 1966 to pursue dreams of rock and roll stardom.
Jim played with several local bands from 1963 to 1966, before helping form The Bluesmen Revue, originally Sally and the Bluesmen. They quickly became the top-grossing and most popular band in Southern Ontario, touring throughout the area and into the U.S. At various times the band included Jim Chapman, Kenn Allison, Paul Kersey, Dave Baker, Rick Wadds, later known as Rick Alexander, Charlie Mitchell and Dave Partridge. In 1967 the Bluesmen Revue signed a recording contract with Columbia Records in the U.S. that saw the release of “Spin the Bottle”, a local hit. They toured the U.S. east coast as far south as Florida for several months, including a two-week engagement at the legendary Trude Heller’s in New York City, which also featured such acts as Joey Dee and the Starlighters, Otis Redding and Ben E. King. A falling out with their U.S. management company and dissatisfaction with the label’s plans for them spelled the end of their Columbia contract, and, dispirited by their failure to crack the big time, the band split up in early 1969.
After a year-long hiatus from music, Jim joined popular Canadian showband Leather and Lace for several months, leaving shortly before they changed their name to Ocean and had an international hit with Put Your Hand in the Hand. He then formed his own band, Bad Axe, with John Hotson, George Attrill, James Drynan and Bert Hamer. They toured throughout Ontario and the northern U.S. and eventually worked as the back-up band for Rockabilly legend Ronnie Hawkins. When Hawkins left for an extended party tour of Europe with Kris Kristofferson, the band split up and Jim moved on to managing bands and artists.
With partners Sandy Wilson and Brian Ferriman, Jim formed the successful musicians’ management company, “Supervision”. Among their clients were Garwood “Twitch” Wallace, Homespun, North, Busker, Rick McGhie, and Easy, all of whom enjoyed success as touring acts. With support from financier Lou Saddy and recording engineer Bob Leth, they opened Springfield Sound in a former country schoolhouse near Aylmer, Ontario. It became the first state-of-the-art 24-track studio west of Toronto. It was at Springfield Sound that folk legend Stan Rogers recorded his iconic Fogarty’s Cove and Turnaround albums. Todd Rundgren, John Allan Cameron, Helix, Jethro Tull, Crowbar, Matt Minglewood, Bernard Purdie, and Budgie were among many other notable acts that recorded there. It was also where Jim recorded his first album of “soft-rock/country” tunes, including “Reach out to the Children”, a ballad that got extensive local radio airplay. Chapman, Hotson, Ferriman and Wilson soon formed “The Jingle People”, which became the top jingle production company in the area, with dozens of their creations being heard on radio and TV over several years. Jim Chapman also rejoined the active music world as the bassist for Homespun, a popular act that toured across Ontario and had been tapped for a contract with A&M Records when they broke up over “artistic differences” in 1976. He left Supervision shortly thereafter. Springfield Sound suffered the effects of a poor economy and was voluntarily liquidated in the early 1980s.
In 1977 Chapman opened “Jim Chapman Associates”, a full-service advertising and promotions company based in London but servicing clients across Ontario with its own art department and recording studio. Some notable clients included Kraft General Foods, Ontario Hydro, ParticipACTION, and the Ontario Home and School Association. The company created memorable musical themes for dozens of clients, including the London Tigers, a Detroit Tigers farm team, where Jim’s theme song “Tear ‘Em Up Tigers” became an anthem for the organization on its way to an Eastern League championship in 1989, in addition to getting significant local airplay and selling thousands of copies. Jim took over the duties of Marketing and Promotions Manager for the team in the early 1990s.
The Morning Show Musical Maestro
In 1998 Chapman was contracted to write novelty songs for Peter Garland’s top-rated morning show on CFPL 980 Radio, reaching an audience across southern Ontario. As “The Morning Show Musical Maestro” from 1988 until the spring of 1991, Jim was the only staff songwriter at any Canadian radio station. He turned out dozens of humorous and satirical songs, also producing two albums of his tunes that raised thousands of dollars for charity. One of his songs, “Stand Up for Canada, Eh!” was recorded by the True Grit Band that included Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and future City of London Mayor Joe Fontana was used as the theme for a campaign to promote Canadian unity.
Jim ran for public office three times, twice for London City Council in 1991 and 1994, and once for the provincial Legislature in 2007. Though he made a respectable showing, he was unsuccessful each time.
In 1992 Jim was offered a job as a talk show host at CJBK 1290 Radio. After a year there and a subsequent two-year stint at CKSL 1410 Radio he returned to CJBK as the host of “Talk of the Town,” which quickly became southern Ontario’s top forum for public discussion. He interviewed many of the top newsmakers of the day, including Prime
Ministers, Premiers, U.S. Governors, Hollywood legend Steve Allen, Forbes Magazine publisher Steve Forbes, Canadian military hero General Lewis Mackenzie, international con artist Julius Melnitzer, legendary Lighthouse drummer Skip Prokop, hockey stars Mark and Dale Hunter, baseball great Bob Feller, best-selling authors Pierre Berton, Diana Gabaldon and Richard Marcinko, TV personality Red Green, and many more. He was hired as a regular news commentator on CFPL television. He also hosted the thrice-weekly Jim Chapman Show evenings on the Rogers TV Network. It reached communities across southern Ontario, and he became a popular columnist with The London Free Press and Business London Magazine. Jim was the first person in the London media to host his own radio and TV shows while writing regular newspaper and magazine columns as well.
In 1999 Jim suffered a fatal heart attack and was left brain-dead on an ER gurney. He was eventually resuscitated, but not before having a transformative Near Death Experience. Emergency surgery after a second serious heart attack just days later left him very ill and incapacitated for some time, during which his loyal listeners filled his home with dozens of bouquets of flowers and several hundred get-well cards, an experience which he credits with helping him recover more quickly. It was still several months before he returned to the radio, although he was hospitalized again a number of times until his health finally stabilized. He wrote about his near-death experience and what followed in Heart and Soul, his memoir, which became quite popular locally. For the next few years, in addition to his other work Jim travelled throughout southern Ontario and as far afield as Seattle, Washington and Dallas, Texas, speaking about his Near Death Experience and its aftermath. Jim was also a guest on several paranormal and scientific programs as an expert on Near Death Experiences and to talk about his books, including the Discovery Channel program Conspiracy Test, X-Zone Radio, The Donna Seebo Show, and was scheduled to appear on Coast to Coast AM with Art Bell before Art took an unexpected sabbatical, cancelling the appearance. After a 6-month break from radio in 2004, Jim returned to the airwaves at CHRW-FM 94.9 and did a daily news commentary show there. After a serious illness in 2005 Chapman was inspired to write another book, Come Back to Life. It related the story of his 1999 NDE and how the intervening years had been affected by it. He also wrote about his lifelong struggles with depression, a petrifying fear of death, and how his NDE had finally allowed him to put his life into perspective. As a very public figure willing to write and talk about very private things, Jim has been a role model for many other people who have suffered from depression, fear of dying and fear of being ridiculed if they shared their own NDE’s. Over the years many, many people have written to thank him for his books and his positive example.
Leaving CJBK in 2004, Jim took several months off to rest. He then went back to the airwaves with a new show of his own devising, The Jim Chapman Newshour, a 60-minute program featuring his analysis of stories in the news and their significance for his listeners. He continued writing for the London Free Press and Business London Magazine but retired from the media in 2007 to run in the Ontario Provincial Election as a Progressive Conservative, though he promised to ignore party lines in favor of his “tough independent streak”. Despite leading in the polls for a portion of the election, he ended up second to the incumbent. Jim decided to retire, planning to read, write, golf and work on his collection of classic cars. But he found an unstructured life unsatisfactory and soon revived his long-dormant communications consultancy, quickly recruiting several major clients. In 2008 he was invited to go back on the radio as the host of the daily Jim Chapman NewsHour on CFPL, his old home, and began writing again for The London Free Press and Business London Magazine. In 2009 he authored his third book, Mind How You Go, based on a collection of inspirational sayings submitted by his radio listeners.
In late 2009 Jim solicited a small group of politically minded investors and in 2010 launched The Voice of London, the city’s first electronic political newsmagazine, and an almost-instant success. Aiming to inform voters about the upcoming civic election, it ceased operations after election day in October 2010.
The following year he left radio again to devote more time to his family, consulting business, writing, and collection of rare automobiles. He has now published two novels, “I Am The Law” and “Sky Com:The Immortals”, and is working on another, “His Will Be Done”, to be released in early 2013.
In 2011 Jim capped a lifelong interest in the sport by becoming one of the founding partners of the San Francisco Bulls, an ECHL professional hockey team affiliated with the San Jose Sharks of the NHL.
For relaxation he performs on weekends with “Jim Chapman’s Incontinentals”, a vocal-based 50’s-60’s pop band. In 2012 he released “Lost and Found”, a CD of original songs recorded at Springfield Sound in the mid-70s but lost for more than 3 decades. His latest automotive project is the restoration of a very rare 1975 Jensen Interceptor cabriolet.
He continues to be in demand as a motivational and keynote speaker.