Brian “Kidd” Kraddick, host of the syndicated “Kidd Kraddick In The Morning” radio program, died on Saturday in New Orleans. The radio and TV host was 53 years old.
As I type that, I really still can’t wrap my head around it. Kidd was heard locally for almost six years on 97 BHT in Northeastern Pennsylvania. By providing compelling content, along with locally produced news, traffic, weather, and contesting – Kraddick helped break the notion that syndicated programming couldn’t work in this area. His show’s ratings were some of the best that WBHT has seen in the AM Drive time slot. “KKITM” ranked number one in the market last ratings period for the station’s target demographic.
Throughout his career, Kraddick helped to pioneer a lot of new and different ideas. He proved that you could have a nationally syndicated program not based on either coast, calling Dallas, Texas, home. The host also showed his listeners the power of radio, and the good it can do for others. It’s almost fitting that on Kraddick’s last day, he was in Louisiana for a charity golf tournament. The proceeds were donated to “Kidd’s Kids,” Kraddick’s charity that sends chronically and terminally ill children and their families on a VIP, all-expenses-paid trip to Walt Disney World.
Another charitable act of the host was the annual “Breaking and Entering.” Kraddick’s team would select a family that needed a little extra help during the holiday season. “Big Al” Mack would “break in to” the person’s home, only to set up a Christmas tree with the fixings and enough presents to last multiple holidays underneath it. The promotion was also done locally in NEPA.
Kidd transcended radio. His promotions and initiatives on the Internet and social media were groundbreaking for the medium. The show’s entire cast found themselves on television weeknights, hosting “Dish Nation,” which is distributed nationally by Twentieth Century Fox.
I never had the chance to meet Kraddick, but spoke with him and joined his show on a number of different occasions. Last year, I served as his MTV “Video Music Awards” correspondent, checking in to the show live from Los Angeles. In previous years, Kraddick featured both my stories and interviews on the program. As an up-and-coming broadcaster, words cannot describe what his support meant to me.
He truly enjoyed broadcasting to Northeastern Pennsylvania. It wasn’t uncommon for him to cover a local story of ours on his national show, or to throw in any “Office” plug that he possibly could. Kraddick even stole our own Adam Sieminski away for a period of time to work with him as a producer.
The stories that Adam, along with the rest of the cast, shared on-air Monday moved me to both tears and laughter. Kellie Rasberry, Jose “J-Si” Chavez, Jenna Page, “Big Al” Mack, and “Psycho” Shannon Murphy spoke about Kidd’s passing and reminisced on working with him for an hour and a half on live radio.
Jefferson Parish Deputy Coroner Dr. Granville Morse told a newspaper in Dallas that Kraddick died of cardiac disease. There is no word on the future of the show; “best-of” episodes will run for the remainder of this week.
- Listen to “The Ralphie Show” weeknights from 7 p.m.-midnight on 97 BHT.