The news this weekend about the sudden passing of radio personality Kidd Kraddick was not only was a shock professionally and personally, but also prompted my brain to recall a story about him.
Even though I have worked in media here since 1984, I never met Kidd in person. But I do know his one time boss, Brenda Adriance. Brenda was at one time the executive in charge of the Dallas/Fort Worth radio stations owned by Clear Channel and its predecessor companies. While I was with KDFW FOX 4 and My27KDFI, I took a meeting with Brenda and another person to discuss the possibility of taking Kidd to television while doing the radio show too. He was about to become nationally syndicated at that time and Brenda was seeking some options for Kidd’s show to be on TV on a same day delayed basis. Needless to say, I was excited about this prospect. To this day I am a little like Lucy Ricardo in that the chance to meet a big time radio DJ made me “star struck”.
While in our meeting, Brenda recalled a little background about Kidd. She hired him for morning drive at 1061 KISS-FM (KHKS-FM, which is licensed by the FCC to Denton, hence the “Denton/Dallas/Fort Worth” you hear on their legal ID). He was in between radio jobs after leaving 97.1 KEGL-FM. Brenda knew good radio talent. At that time KISS-FM was a part of Gannett Radio (Gannett later sold their radio division to concentrate on their TV and newspaper holdings and recently announced plans to acquire Belo which owns WFAA-TV Channel 8 here in the DFW area).
When Brenda told Gannett about her plans to hire Kidd, they thought she had lost her mind. Hire an out of work DJ for a CHR station from a hard rock KEGL? Brenda eventually convinced them of her plan and as we say, the rest is history. KISS-FM became the #1 station in town and Kidd and his crew had the #1 show. The local TV show didn’t happen but what later happened was he and his crew ended up on the syndicated show Dish Nation and having his radio show syndicated in over 80 markets.
Kidd did three things well: he could talk on the radio as if he was speaking directly to you personally, which is one of radio’s biggest assets. Secondly, he talked about things that either had some listener benefit or something that made you go tell everyone at your office, “hey did you hear Kidd Kraddick this morning?” Thirdly, he did what personalities like WABC’s Don Imus did: he gave back to those less fortunate or dealing with adversity without the financial wherewithal to deal with it. Kidd’s Kids was founded on the goal of helping chronically ill or physically have an all expense paid vacation to experience the fun other kids have. He did everything that not only made him likeable but also lovable.
Of the thousands of people who become radio personalities, only a handful make it to the top and are remembered after their time is up. Kidd falls into that category.
Kidd, we will see you soon.
(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed)
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