Remembering a Dallas Icon
By C. Patterson
The radio airwaves are missing a familiar voice this morning. It’s a voice that has made us laugh, debate with our passenger, and be a bit kinder to our crazy fellow drivers along the morning commute on Central for the past 21 years here in the metroplex. The voice of David “Kidd Kraddick” Cradick was silenced far too soon. Kidd was a larger than life personality in an industry made entirely of people with big personalities. He was a father of one and friend to millions (both celebrities and common Joes) in over 100 cities. Death left our world in radio silence.
On the evening on July, 27 news broke via social media that 106.1 KISS-FM’s Dallas-based, nationally-syndicated morning show host had passed away while in southern Louisiana outside of New Orleans participating in a golf tournament to benefit his charity, The Kraddick Foundation. At the time of publishing Dallas Morning News had relayed the preliminary La. Coroner’s report that Kraddick died from cardiac disease. It did little to quell the outpouring of emotion through Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter from famous fans and regular ones. The thousands and then tens of thousands expressing remorse for the loss of man, who for a time from your home to your job was like family, shared their messages and memories. As soothing as that may seem to the blow, it is hard not to imagine the chosen few that stared at their phone screens in paralyzing disbelief that their father, best friend, mentor, and colleague was gone.
The impact of the departure of Kidd from your dial hasn’t truly been realized. More than a morning jock, Kraddick was as much a fixture of the city as Reunion Tower.
“The world loses celebrities everyday but yesterday they lost one who really made a difference.”
Words left on the Facebook wall of Kraddick’s morning show co-host Big Al Mack. Words that Al and fellow hosts Kellie Rasberry, J-Si Chavez, and Jenna Owens know to be a fact. They worked side-by-side with Kraddick on his philanthropic efforts like Kidd’s Kids, which brought terminally ill children and children severely wounded in accidents to a weeklong vacation at Walt Disney World. Kraddick also felt deeply that Christmas was no time for children of lesser means to feel unappreciated and worked to erase the chances of that with his Christmas Wish project. His compassion for people who rarely get a chance to smile was evident in his work with The Glamour Squad where Kidd provided a day of pampering and cosmetic bliss for terminally/chronically ill teenage girls while they are in the hospital.
“How do you say goodbye to someone you never got a chance to say hello to?”
A question that was posed to millions of listeners across the country and attempted to be answered on the Monday following Kidd’s passing by his co-hosts as they took to the airwaves to recall the smiles and happiness that was brought into all of their lives by Kidd just being there.
The undersung hero in plain clothes was remembered by Kellie Rasberry, who sat by Kraddick for over two decades, when she described her loss as, “I know what it was like to be divorced. Now I feel as though I know what it’s like to be widowed.” She described their bond at work and in life was like a marriage and true to form quipped, “Like a marriage, we didn’t have sex.” As each team member traded tales of how Kidd changed the courses of their particular lives, there was a painfully honest mix of hurt and humor. Fittingly though, as that’s what life is, isn’t it? Listening to their very personal stories triggered emotions normally reserved for people that you knew on an intimate level. But that’s who he was and what Kidd worked tirelessly to convey – to be a person who through his kindness and candor could connect with his listeners.
Intern-turned-show producer “Psycho” Shanon Murphy described one of Kidd’s fingerprints on her life came after the untimely death of her nephew. She fought back tears telling the audience her closely guarded memory. “He knew that we [my family members and I] weren’t financially prepared for the situation and he paid for everything.” Kidd’s care and compassion was all encompassing – available to any and all whom he encountered. Big Al Mack’s final memory of his former mentor was Kidd making plans to help a young man that he bumped into on Bourbon Street who was selling DVDs out of his trunk. The morning show host took interest in the sidewalk businessman and inquired about his new found friend’s goals. “Kidd asked him what he planned on doing with his life…sell CDs out the trunk of his car for the rest of his life or did he have a plan,” both Al and J-Si remembered. The guy told Kraddick that he was “good with numbers” and wanted to become an accountant. Ever the optimist, Kraddick told his co-worker, George Laughlin, to get the young man’s information. Kidd later told Big Al of the meeting, “I really want to help him. I just felt a spark.”
It’s to the deficit of all of us that ever heard his voice that Kidd’s spark was extinguished so soon.
We all know who the morning jock in Heaven is…
In Memory of Kidd Kraddick (1959-2013)