He is a TV personality who middle Tennesseans have grown up watching and admiring. After 35 years of captivating television moments, NewsChannel 5’s Harry Chapman will retire this fall.
Known for his depth of knowledge and passion about the music industry, his extraordinary interviewing skills and 30-plus years of news and entertainment reporting experience, Harry Chapman has seen and done it all.
His career at NewsChannel 5 has been unique and varied, starting as an anchor for the weekend newscasts in November of 1971. He was eventually joined at the anchor desk by a rising young star named Oprah Winfrey.
Years later he branched out into television sales at the station, working directly with advertisers for six years. For a brief period Harry joined Belmont University to become the Vice President of College Relations, but a new opportunity at NewsChannel 5 quickly brought him back to television to launch a program called Talk of the Town.
For more than 20 years Talk of the Town and Harry Chapman have gone hand-in-hand. Harry has been a constant driving force in the ongoing success of this local entertainment program. From interviews with the stars to fun-filled adventures in live TV, Harry has made this daytime hour engaging for local viewers of all ages.
In addition to Talk of the Town, Harry has stepped into roles in the news department with ease – launching the NewsChannel 5 weekend morning newscasts in 1993, then again in 2000 with NewsChannel 5 Midday which he still anchors today.
Countless professional colleagues and the community at large have recognized Harry’s accomplishments over his illustrious career. Highlights include the CMA Media Achievement Award in 2001 in recognition of his outstanding entertainment industry reporting. Also, the University of Georgia, his alma mater, honored him with the John Holliman, Jr. Award for Lifetime Achievement.
Harry has had a lifetime of achievements. "I’ve had such wonderful opportunities to meet and work with icons of the news and entertainment world", said Chapman, "dinner with Lucille Ball; an interview with George Burns; a party at Larry Hagman’s (J.R. from Dallas) ranch; and a news story introduced by Walker Cronkite saying ‘more from Harry Chapman’."
In Nashville, Harry has been as popular with the actual country stars as the stars themselves are with their fans. From Tex Ritter to Garth Brooks, there is hardly anyone in the music business whom Harry has not interviewed. They all know him by name.
Harry’s love for music will follow him into retirement. "I’ve worked in television for so many years," Chapman said, "I’m looking forward to spending more time in other areas that I love. Music is definitely one of those areas."
"Harry has earned the respect of both the music community and the television community with lots of heart and dedication," said Debbie Turner, NewsChannel 5 Network president and general manager. "It’s impossible to sum up in a few words the many important contributions he’s made to the success of NewsChannel 5 over the decades. Harry is one of those great people who has personalized NewsChannel 5 for our viewers in so many ways.
We’re happy that even after his retirement, Harry will continue his Nashville songwriters program "Words and Music" on NewsChannel 5+."
Harry Chapman will retire mid-September and will announce a specific date later this summer. WTVF is part of the NewsChannel 5 Network which is comprised of the CBS affiliate; cable station NewsChannel 5 Plus; the web site newschannel5.com and NewsChannel 5 HD (digital channel 56).