In 1984, Kidd Kraddick was giving out Von Erich wrestling family posters at the big, first dance of the year at my junior high school. We kicked 8th grade off right, with this scrawny, loud DJ, who kept yelling things like, “Let’s get buck naked!” And, “Let’s go craaAAaazy!” I was disappointed he didn’t have any Duran Duran posters, but he played great music–only school dance I’ve ever been to where you got Adam Ant and Van Halen in the same set (Goody Two Shoes, and Jump–why can I remember things like this, but not where I parked my car?)
It wasn’t the first time I’d heard him. No, I used to sit and listen to his show on KEGL, blank cassette in the “record” side of my boom box, waiting with my fingers over the record and play buttons, hoping to catch a clean cut of my favorite songs. Kidd was one of the first DJs to resonate with me. He and Stoobie Doak were my DJs, and I used to call up to their shows all the time, using my middle name, just in case.
Kidd always took my calls, always remembered me as soon as I told him my [middle] name, and every time told me how much he loved it, and how he had considered it for his daughter. The last time I talked to him was a few years ago. B and I had run into him at a restaurant, and we hadn’t talked to him because he was there with his family, but Kidd and I had shared a wink and nod. The old, “I know who you are, listen your show, not going to interrupt,” chin jerk and smile, reciprocated with a, “Thanks for listening, have a good circus,” grin. I called in to the show to say hello, and he remembered my [middle–yes, I still used my middle name because…well, just in case] name from all those teenaged call-ins.
I’ve had Kidd Kraddick in my house, or in my car since I was 13 years old. Nearly 30 years of that man’s voice in my world. I’ve heard great things about him, and I’ve heard horrible things about him, but all of it washed out to what amounted to be an above average human being, who was truly invested in making his community a better place, and in making the lives of the less fortunate better.
The last bit I heard Kidd do, was him reading a letter a listener had sent in about having been helped out of a hard spot by fellow show personality, J-Si. He was so proud of J-Si, and J-Si was effusive that it was Kidd’s example that had inspired him to live up to that level. WIth Kidd’s Kids, and with the Christmas Break-ins, and all the other wonderful things that Kidd did through his platform on KISS, I think a lot of people have been inspired to do more for the world around them.
You can be a legend in your field without ever making a real difference in the world. Kidd is a radio legend in DFW, who has made many, many differences in the lives of families here and beyond.
I think it is fitting that he spent his last day working to promote Kidd’s Kids. If you’ve got to go out suddenly, and you can’t do it with your family, doing it for other people’s families is the next best thing.
Thanks for everything, Kidd. I’m going to miss you.