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Ron "Radio Ron" Chilton
  • Danville Alumni Stories
Ron "Radio Ron" Chilton

Ron Chilton, who is also known as “Radio Ron,” is a 1953 Danville High School graduate. There were just 65 students in his graduating class, and he was the senior class president. 

At 89 years old, Chilton still regularly runs 5K races and has participated in the annual Coach Plummer 5K Run/Walk at Admiral Stadium every year for at least a decade. 

He got the nickname “Radio Ron” because he spent about 40 years working in radio. He got his start at Danville’s very own WHIR radio station. The rest of his career in radio was at stations in Lexington and Louisville. Chilton currently lives in Louisville. 

Another way Chilton has been involved in the Danville community is through performing at Pioneer Playhouse, both onstage and in a band. He recently attended Pioneer Playhouse’s 75th Anniversary Gala earlier this month, where he was recognized as an alumnus of the Playhouse. 

He shared some stories about his Danville Schools journey. 

Ron "Radio Ron" Chilton Pioneer Playhouse band photo

Ron "Radio Ron" Chilton is pictured third from left at 15 years old. This is a photo from his days playing in a band at Pioneer Playhouse. 

 

Tell us about your Danville Schools journey. What school(s) did you attend, and what’s a highlight that stands out to you?

I actually started in the 1st grade at Maple Avenue, now Edna L. Toliver Intermediate School. I started there in 1941 and attended for four years. Then my father moved to Burgin, and so I spent the 7th and 8th grades there at Burgin school, but then my father got a job back in Danville. So I moved back to Danville in 1949, entered the 9th grade, and I attended Danville High School. 

I was an overachiever. I just had to be doing this and that. I was in the chorus; I played saxophone in the band. Looking back, I’m not sure if I should have been involved in so many activities! I was president of the senior class, but also secretary of the student council, and I was lieutenant governor of the key club — so it always seemed that I had to be doing something, achieving something.

What aspects of your Danville Schools education helped mold you into the person you are today, and are there specific instances or relationships that stand out to you?

I think the teachers, primarily. They all seemed to be so helpful. I remember when I transferred from Burgin to Danville in the 9th grade, they were all eager to see that I assimilated into the curriculum. So I had so many who took special interest in me, but I think in retrospect, that’s one of the reasons I was an overachiever. I wanted to please my parents and teachers, so I ran for every office. Doc Owens was my band teacher. I always wanted to get a superior rating in band, and I was the lead baritone singer in the chorus, and also I got several superiors in that, so I think it was molding me through a great group of teachers at Danville High School.

As a product of Danville Schools, what advice would you give to a parent who was choosing an education path for their child?

Your educational subjects are extremely important. I don’t want to diminish the importance of that, but I would say get into as many extracurricular activities as you can, because it makes you a well-rounded person and student, and you just get so much more out of your high school career if you dip your toe into every single thing you possibly can.


This piece is part of an ongoing series telling the stories of our Danville Alumni! We share a new alumni story once a month, and we want YOUR story. If you or someone you know is a Danville graduate and an excellent representative of the Danville community and the idea of #SuccessForALL, whether they live in Danville or not, please fill out the form linked below. You can also show your Danville Alumni pride on social media with the hashtag #DanvilleAlumniStories

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