Published on Sunday, 05 June 2011 12:48
Longtime sports talk show host "Papa Joe" Chevalier has passed away Friday at the age of 62 at a hospice care facility in Las Vegas, NV. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal
this weekend, Chevalier died from complications caused by a stroke he had suffered a little over two months ago.
For 10 years, "Papa Joe" Chevalier was a Chicagoland-based sports talker, discussing sports afternoons and evenings on WIDB-AM (now WNTD-AM), WJKL-FM, and WCSN-AM (now WCPT-AM) for One-On-One Sports and The Sporting News Radio. A well-known and loved radio host in Las Vegas, he came to Chicago for a two-week fill job for One-On-One sports in 1994, which led him to be offered a full-time job, syndicated nationally to hundreds of radio stations, but the catch was, he had to move to Chicago for the job, since One-On-One Sports (which later became Sporting News Radio) was then based out of the Northbrook/Techny area of north-suburban Chicago.
Though he enjoyed his time in Chicago and was liked by fans and co-workers alike, he missed Las Vegas, his adopted home. In 2005, Chevalier demanded that he be able to do his show from Las Vegas, since other show hosts on that network and other sports networks were able to do shows from their hometowns. Sporting News Radio rejected the idea. Soon after, Chevalier walked away from the job, which reportedly was paying him well over $400,000 a year and SNR lost one of its most popular star.
A few months later, he took "The Papa Joe Show" back to Las Vegas, and began to independently syndicate his own show. It was eventually picked up by CRN Digital Talk Radio Networks and Lifestyle Talk Radio Network. He was also heard on the Armed Forces Radio Network. Chevalier would broadcast his daily radio show live from the Binions Casino and Hotel in the heart of the old downtown gambling district of Las Vegas.
He was born Armand Chevalier in 1949 in Pittsburgh, PA. For a few years, he worked in Pittsburgh sports media as a radio, television and newspaper sports reporter. After deciding harsh winters were not for him, he moved to Las Vegas in 1976 and began working for the gambling business, including being a casino surveillance expert. He kept his hand in sports media by writing for the Las Vegas Sports Forum, as well as doing small reporting roles and guest handicapping jobs on the radio.
In 1991, he began doing full-time sports talk on Las Vegas radio and was instantly a radio star in that city. His fan's perspective of sports and athletes, strong, but often insightful opinions, combined with a strong knowledge of the sports gambling aspect, endeared him to Las Vegas sports radio listeners, and then a few years later, to America's sports radio listeners. His "Bite Me Wednesday" segments, where fans could call in, express their dislike toward sports personalities' recent actions and tell them to "Bite Me," became very popular. Similar style weekly call-in segments have been copied by other sports talkers on radio stations ever since.
He picked up his "Papa Joe" nickname soon after starting is 1991 full-time job, since his show's theme music, played before and after each commercial break, was the Dixieland jazz song, "Down at Papa Joe's," made popular by the Dixie Bells in 1963.
He had been off the air for a little more than a year and was looking to return to the airwaves in a syndicated role when he suffered a stroke in late March. He also had been using his free time to work on writing a book about sports and his life. Chevalier was single and lived alone.