Vaughn Harper

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Vaughn Harper
Born(1945-03-01)March 1, 1945
DiedJuly 9, 2016(2016-07-09) (aged 71)
OccupationDJ, announcer
AwardsBlack Radio Exclusives "2008 Jeep Unlimited Radio Personality of The Year", an inductee to The Living Legends Hall of Fame, the #4 spot as "Best Urban DJ of all-time"

Vaughn Harper (March 1, 1945 – July 9, 2016[1]) was an American broadcast announcer and DJ.

Early life[edit]

Harper played high school basketball at Boys High School in Brooklyn and was an All American standout rebounder that played in the NIT tournament with his alma mater Syracuse University. After spending a brief stint with the CBA which garnered him a try-out with the Detroit Pistons, he was selected in the sixth round of the NBA draft as their #57 pick.[2] Harper was not chosen by the team.[3]


Harper played on the Orangemen squad as a starter from 1966 to 1968, as a sophomore he started in all but three games for Syracuse in the NCAA East Region tourney. Despite playing in only three varsity campaigns he is 10th on the Orangemen's all-time rebounding chart. As a senior, Harper led the Orangemen in scoring, averaging 13.5 points per game for his career.[4] In 1967 the starting five, George Hicker, Rick Dean, Steve Ludd, Ritchie Cornwall and Harper were 19-2 and ranked 8th in the nation before losing four of the last five games of the season. In a game against Colgate, Harper pulled down 23 rebounds.[5] Because of his leaping ability, and the lack of height on the team, Harper jumped center for most of his Syracuse career. With a 130 I.Q. he took off his sophomore year to put more time to art prep, Upon graduation, he was drafted by the Detroit Pistons in the 6th round of the 1968 draft, but failed to make the team due to an injury during training camp to his knee.[6]


As one of the deejays mentored by Frankie Crocker on WBLS, Harper entered radio in 1976. In May 1983, WBLS hired Champaine, an African American woman deejay, and together Harper and Champaine developed a quiet storm late night format patterned after the successful show which had been introduced by WHUR jock Melvin Lindsey in 1976.[7][8] Others took to the format but WBLS had greater reach and more listenership. The Harper/Champaine quiet storm program became a staple that lasted thru station changeovers and garnered a following in the New York Market. With a deep, mellifluous voice, listeners said Harper sounded romantic, eliciting a peaceful respite at the end of the day.[9]

While at WBLS he also, with Ken 'Spider' Webb, lent his basketball talents to the station team, the WBLS-Sureshots, which played local teams for charity.

In 1979 along with his co-horts Ken Webb, Johnny Allen, and Frankie Crocker, WBLS reached #1 in the Billboard Radio rankings as rated by Arbitron.

In 1993 Harper suffered a stroke and spent years effecting a comeback. In his absence, Champaine hosted Quiet Storm II on WBLS.[8] Harper left WBLS for WWRL in 1997.[10] Reading live ads upon returning to radio in 1998 had improved his delivery to his pre-stroke professionalism and at WBGO-FM he felt the energy returning to his program. Listeners will get a certain energy from me he promised.[11]

In 2008, Harper lent his voice to Grand Theft Auto IV, as himself, a DJ on one of the in-game radio stations, The Vibe 98.8.

Harper rejoined WBLS and continued as a radio host until 2008.[7]


Harper died on July 9, 2016, at the age of 71 in Englewood, New Jersey.

See also[edit]

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  1. ^ "WBLS 'Quiet Storm' DJ Vaughn Harper dies at 71". Archived from the original on 17 August 2016. Retrieved 8 August 2016.
  2. ^ "Pistons Draft History | Detroit Pistons". Retrieved 2016-02-25.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Vaughn Harper". Retrieved 2016-02-25.
  5. ^ Mike Waters (1 November 2003). The Orangemen: Syracuse University Men's Basketball. Arcadia Publishing. pp. 59–. ISBN 978-0-7385-3476-3.
  6. ^ Arts Major Harper Orange Hoop artist, Press and Sun Bulletin 1/04/1967 pg.30
  7. ^ a b Rich Schapiro (July 9, 2016). "'Quiet Storm' DJ Vaughn Harper, longtime WBLS staple, dies at 71". New York Daily News.
  8. ^ a b David Hinckley (May 20, 2008). "Radio: Milestone for a vintage Champaine". New York Daily News.
  9. ^ Mellow Fellow, NY Daily News 3/27/88 pg.185
  10. ^ Harper gets back to basics, The Courier News 11/26/1998 pg. 73
  11. ^ Bob grant loses slot; Cuts at BLS reported, NY Daily News 11/26/2008 pg. 76