Country Music Journalist Chuck Dauphin Dies At 45 In Nashville

Chuck Dauphin
– Chuck Dauphin
Country music journalist Chuck Dauphin receives the CMA Media Achievement Award in Nashville in 2014.

Chuck Dauphin, a CMA Award-winning radio and print journalist much loved in Music City and beyond, died Sept. 18 from complications of diabetes at a Nashville hospice care center. He was 45.

He got his first radio gig in high school, and was hired by Billboard as Country News Editor in 2011, where he continued as a country music contributor until his death. He covered superstar artists like Garth Brooks, Kenny Rogers and Randy Travis as well as newcomers, and was an early champion of emerging stars including Ashley McBryde, Brandy Clark, Brantley Gilbert, Carly Pearce, Cody Johnson, Luke Bryan, Luke Combs and Midland.

Despite rubbing shoulders with music royalty, Dauphin also loved sports and was known for doing local high school football radio broadcasts throughout his life.

Born in Dickson, Tenn., Dauphin was raised on country music and became a radio host at WDKN in his hometown in 1991 while still in high school. He worked there for 18 years, became program director, and eventually worked at WSM-AM (home of the Grand Ole Opry) and was a frequent guest on SiriusXM’s country music channels.

As a journalist, his work was featured in At Home NashvilleCMA Close UpCountry Now, Rolling StoneRoughstockSounds Like NashvilleThe Boot and The Dickson County Herald.

“Chuck Dauphin worked from the heart, connected to artists as people, and showed his readers why the music mattered,” friend, author and Pollstar contributor Holly Gleason says. “That way the beauty of Chuck: never a cynical aside, never a marginalizing comment. To him, Garth Brooks and an artist on an indie label who didn’t have a chance were equally deserving. And for heritage artists, he reminded an industry moving too fast why those former superstars were so important.

“No one was kinder, more generous or welcoming. When [Gleason’s book] “Woman Walk The Line” came out, he was the first to step up. He understood how music changes lives, and he made sure he recognized the personal in the professional, just as he asked questions that showed great thought and real understanding.

“He cared. He did his homework. He wrote hard. And he treated everyone — publicists, tour managers, kids dreaming the same dream he once had — like the most important person in the world. What’s amazing is how all that found its way into the way he wrote about the artists, the songs and what it meant.”

Dauphin’s work as recognized in 2014 when he received the prestigious CMA Media Achievement Award.

Memorial service and funeral information will be announced later this week via or

In lieu of flowers, his family asks that donations in Dauphin’s name be made to Music Health Alliance, MusiCares, Alive Hospice, The Opry Trust Fund and/or Nashville Humane Association.