Chuck Dauphin, Esteemed Nashville Music Journalist, Dead at 45
Chuck Dauphin, a highly regarded Nashville music journalist, radio personality and 2014 CMA Media Achievement Award recipient, died on Wednesday night (Sept. 18). He was 45 years old.
A Dickson, Tenn., native, Dauphin (born Charles Frederick Dauphin III) loved country music -- and country radio -- even as a young kid. "I would scan down through the AM band at night, and find stations such as WBAP/Dallas, WWL/New Orleans and WLW/Cincinnatti," he recalled to the Tennesseean in 2018. "I used to think it was so neat that at 12:30AM, you could hear [deejays] talking 500 miles away.
"I actually developed my own imaginary radio station, WBRQ -- W-Burns (my hometown in Tennessee)-Q," he added. "I would take my boombox that my grandmother had bought me, and would read ads from the local paper, and do intros and outros of the songs."
All that practice paid off in 1991, when Dauphin began working as a radio broadcaster. He started picking up bylines as a freelance writer, too, ultimately serving as a contributor to Billboard (beginning in 2011), and writing for numerous other publications. Over the course of his career, Dauphin interviewed a wide swath of luminaries within the genre, including a personal idol of his, Kenny Rogers.
Dauphin struggled with several health setbacks in the last few years of his life. In April of 2018, he broke his shoulder in an accident in Denver, Colo. He returned to Tennessee and visited a doctor, but just days later, his kidneys shut down, and he went into a coma for four days. After coming out of the coma, Dauphin began dialysis treatments.
In the fall of 2018, Dauphin's right foot was amputated due to complications from diabetes and a MRSA infection. Then, in early August, he underwent back surgery to clear out an infection in his vertebrae. The surgery was successful, but Dauphin struggled to heal afterwards, and he was admitted to hospice care in Nashville about a month later.
Dauphin is survived by several family members, including his father Charles and stepmother Marcia, stepbrother Lyle (and wife Dee Dee) and stepsister Deanna (and husband Eric), and stepson Zack and stepdaughter Isabella. He also leaves behind an extensive group of friends and supporters in his church and country music communities, both of which he loved throughout his life.
“We are so proud of Chuck,” says Dauphin’s father. “He accomplished so much and was loved by so many. Our deepest thanks to everyone who showed their love to Chuck. We know he felt your prayers and support.”
Memorial and funeral details for Dauphin have yet to be announced; they will available in the coming days. In lieu of flowers, Dauphin's family is requesting donations in his name to the Music Health Alliance, MusiCares, Alive Hospice, the Opry Trust Fund and the Nashville Humane Association.
"I can't carry a tune or play an instrument," Dauphin previously told Billboard, "but I have always loved telling people about music -- whether a superstar like Tim McGraw or Lee Ann Womack, a legend like Kenny Rogers, or a brand-new artist that nobody has ever heard of -- yet."
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