When Ron Stutts arrives at the radio station sometime after five in the morning, it’s dark more often than not. Both inside the building and out. For Ron, it’s time to play music. But first, it’s time to light the lights.

For 40 of the 64 years that WCHL – Chapel Hill’s oldest continuous broadcaster – has been on the air, Stutts has been hosting the morning show. He’s officiated weddings, acted as master of ceremonies for countless events, led Chapel Hill’s holiday parade as Grand Marshal more than once and been recognized as the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters’ “Radio Personality of the Year” three times.

Stutts has also received the “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Chamber of Commerce and was one of the voices from WCHL on the air during the infamous ice storm of 2002. In fact, after that ice storm, WCHL was recognized for its singular contribution in a time of crisis and awarded a key to the Town of Chapel Hill for exceptional service by former mayor Kevin Foy.

It was Stutts in the studio broadcasting crucial updates and working by candlelight. He’s been covering politics since Ronald Reagan’s campaign, and WCHL’s status as the flagship station for Tar Heel sports means that Stutts has been involved in covering UNC men’s basketball across five of the program’s seven national championship runs.

In honor of his forty years of service to WCHL and the Chapel Hill-Carrboro community, WCHL is hosting “Ron Fest” and printing a revision on the classic and coveted “I Woke Up With Ron Stutts” t-shirt. The event will feature local band Liquid Pleasure, known for their live “supershow” partying up and down the East Coast for over two decades. The event is being held at The Strowd, from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 16.

“Ron Fest” isn’t just a party at a local bar. It’s an acknowledgement of the contributions Ron Stutts has made to our community as a personality, show host and neighbor over the last four decades. It’s a celebration for a man who has provided the voice and the soundtrack behind countless mornings in Chapel Hill.