A Tribute to Kidd Kraddick

 In Blog

By Randy Lane

Sadness, shock, loss and hope ran through my entire being. Hope that the news of Kidd Kraddick’s passing was some cruel joke or stunt. It was not.

My thoughts went to his daughter Caroline. Kidd and Caroline had such a loving relationship. I’m remembering how proud Kidd was of Caroline when I met her as bubbly and artistic 14 year old. I imagine the pain she must surely be feeling. 

Kidd Kraddick was self-deprecating and spontaneously funny. He was one of the best sensory storytellers, his lovable and self-deprecating humor connected with females and males alike. 

Innovative genius is a term we reserve for only the most brilliant people in any field. He was the Steve Jobs of radio.

Kidd’s Firsts 

Kidd transformed multiple-cast shows from morning zoos to a cast of characters. He realized that if listeners didn’t care about the characters, nothing much else mattered. 

He saw a polarizing spark and a realness in a small town South Carolina girl named Kellie Rasberry. The charm and likability of a Dallas limo driver named Big Al Mack. He recognized the budding talent of a young Bert Weiss. He loved the creative fearlessness of Rich Shertenlieb. They all became stars.

Kidd Kraddick in the Morning was radio’s first character based show that gave equal mic time to all the characters rather than a host or duo with peripheral characters. J-Si, Jenna and Psycho Shannon became distinctive characters that appealed to different segments of the audience. There was always humor and fun. The difference was the addition of tears, drama and conflict. All real life stuff that connected the characters to the audience emotionally. 

The characters extended beyond the show in the form of experts. Kidd introduced me and hundreds of thousands of listeners to a guy named Dr. Phil, his relationship expert. 

Kidd’s Kids was the first major morning show to create a year-round organization devoted to brightening the lives of chronically and terminally ill children. His last day was spent raising money for his treasured kids. 

Character Clip Imaging (Kidd Kraddick plus clip, Kelly Raspberry plus clip, etc.) was a Kidd Kraddick innovation that we still recommend to shows.

Kidd Kraddick in the Morning was the first successful syndicated show in Top 40 radio targeted to females. 

Kidd demonstrated the difference in good shows and great shows. He wouldn’t stop with a good idea. He would go into every content segment with the goal of making it the best ever! He would push it over the top by improvising a character on the phone, adding a piece of attention-getting audio or by introducing a surprise guest.

He pushed boundaries in life too. We were coming back from dinner in Dallas late one night and he insisted that I experience driving his new BMW. He said, “Come on man, this IS a driving machine. Push it up to 80…now 90…hit a hundred!!” I’m thinking WTF!! We survived my freeway driving without a speeding ticket! 

Kidd wrote books, he wrote music and lyrics, he did TV (Dish Network recently). I witnessed him dash into his office during a commercial break and bang out a sketch comedy bit in less than five minutes! He pulled it off flawlessly on the air.

The last time I saw Kidd was the World Radio Summit in Hollywood a couple of months ago. He looked healthy, relaxed and happy. He was hilarious hosting the awards luncheon with Bert Weiss. He had the audience laughing hysterically on the talent panel later that afternoon. The complimentary emails we exchanged the next week was my last contact with Kidd.

I was privileged to work with Kidd for many years. I lost a friend and a mentor. The world lost a creative genius who gave back generously.

Thank you for sharing your gifts with us Kidd. You made a huge difference.

I’m still in disbelief.

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