Goodbye Kidd. And a memory I'd like to share.

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the5
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Joined: Thu Oct 01, 2009 4:12 pm
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Goodbye Kidd. And a memory I'd like to share.

Post by the5 » Sun Jul 28, 2013 12:31 am

Years ago, I used to be an active member here. In case you're curious, my real name is Rob Radencic, and for a brief time, I worked at a long-gone CBS station in Dallas that was competing against Kiss FM before Kidd went national. I'm sure many people will be sharing their memories of Kidd Kraddick, and many will be far more meaningful than mine... but still... as I sit here feeling sad for the loss of a man I never even had the chance to meet in person, I can't help wanting to say... something. So, I'll share a memory.

I don't know if Kidd ever posted to Net Talk, but he used to read the forum. I know this because, one day, I received an email from Kidd in response to something I'd written here. I said "One person can change a radio station. One station can change a market. And one market can change the entire medium for the better." It was a simple thought, really. Imagine my surprise when I received a response from Kidd.

To say that I felt flattered would be an understatement. We swapped a bit of email after that, bouncing ideas back and forth. I don't know if he ever used any of mine on his show, but it didn't matter. The very thought that he might use something of mine was more than enough for me.

He'd found my now defunct blog (http://thisisthebox.com) and though I didn't tell him, there was one particular post that I really hoped he'd read. And he did. What he didn't know until after the fact was that he was reading about himself.

Before I share the story Kidd read without yet knowing it was about him, I'll tell you what I think made Kidd Kraddick so damn good at what he did on the air. Obviously, there's talent. The man had the ability to talk to and empathize with millions of people as if he was only talking to one. That's a gift. And there's his personality. I mean, come on now. Where was he when he passed away? ...either at or shortly after being at a charity event. Nobody is perfect, but Kidd truly was a great man. But even that - even the combination of his talent and personality wasn't what made Kidd so damn good at what he did on the air. Kidd was the best because Kidd didn't think he was special. He knew that anyone - even an intern - could have ideas just as good as his, and he wasn't afraid to use them on the show. Rather than thinking he was the best, he thought it was wise to surround himself with the best. And that mentality, especially when combined with his enormous talent and personality, made him pretty much unstoppable.

That, in my opinion, is what made Kidd Kraddick so damn good on the air. And this is the story he read which I was so happy to be able to tell him was actually a story about himself:

----------------

"When A Morning Show Inspires Doom. DOOOOOOM!!!!"

I never felt so hopeless about the fate of a radio station I was involved with as I did the day I heard a particular morning show bit go south. I don't even remember what the bit was about. All I remember was that a lot of work went into creating it, but shortly after it hit the air, everyone involved knew it sucked.

It really sucked.

The morning show's bit sucked so bad the host cut it off and launched into what quickly became a heated discussion about how bad the bit was. The discussion turned into an argument over whether or not they should even finish airing the thing. No one could agree. The host opened the phones to see what listeners thought, which led to even more people on the air arguing about how bad the bit was.

"It's stupid! It's worse than stupid!"
"YOU'RE stupid! I wanna hear the rest!"
"Get outa here!!!! It's pathetic!!!"
"You got no sense of humor girl! I thought it was funny..."
"Only somebody like YOU would think THAT was funny."
...and those were the LISTENERS!

A co-worker and I were driving to our radio station, listening to all of this, but we spoke not one word. When we arrived, the car came to a stop, and we just sat there in the parking lot, looking at each other with a sense of doom.

DOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!!!!

The problem was that the morning show in question wasn't on our station. It was on the station we were competing against.

The problem was that even when the competition's show was off, it was superb. Even when a bit fell flat on its face, the show was the most compelling thing on the dial.

How do you compete with that?

Well, sadly, the answer is that you don't. You don't even try. Instead, you focus on the people you're supposed to be entertaining. You execute your station's game plan, doing what it is you do best, giving it your all... and you hope that's enough. And if that isn't enough, you try harder at what you do best.

My station had a plan with a clear goal and we were executing it. We were seeing progress with each new trend. Our ratings were up, revenue was up, and staff morale was way up. But it still broke my heart to hear such great radio on the station we were trying to beat.

While listening to a competitor turn an off day into some of the most compelling entertainment I'd heard in ages, I was reminded of one of the most valuable lessons of all: You've got to take chances.

If you never risk falling flat on your face, you are denying yourself opportunities to grow.

And if you take a chance and fail, spin the situation 180 degrees and give it another go.

----------------

I've always believed the following to be true:

One person can change a radio station.
One station can change a market.
And one market can change the entire medium, for the better.

Kidd Kraddick was one such man.

Rest in peace, Kidd. You will be missed more than you could have possibly imagined.

winterwest
Posts: 134
Joined: Sun Oct 04, 2009 8:42 am

Re: Goodbye Kidd. And a memory I'd like to share.

Post by winterwest » Sun Jul 28, 2013 5:36 pm

"5", nice to hear from you again. I hope your life is going well...

nice_shot_man
Posts: 20
Joined: Thu Oct 01, 2009 6:21 am

Re: Goodbye Kidd. And a memory I'd like to share.

Post by nice_shot_man » Mon Aug 05, 2013 3:38 pm

Very true... Well said, Rob..

tstone
Posts: 49
Joined: Fri Oct 02, 2009 8:52 pm

Re: Goodbye Kidd. And a memory I'd like to share.

Post by tstone » Fri Aug 09, 2013 11:25 pm

Excellent, the5. Great reminder of both the essentials of great radio and the obstacles that have stood in the way of making in for the past decade.

But I think we will emerge from that sooner or later.

halltalk
Posts: 178
Joined: Mon Oct 05, 2009 2:21 am

Re: Goodbye Kidd. And a memory I'd like to share.

Post by halltalk » Mon Sep 02, 2013 2:15 pm

The5 -

Guess I missed this when it was originally posted. Anyone who has been a member of AA back in the day remembers your on-line moniker. Your piece here is - as always - very well written. I didn't know Kidd but sure knew of him and your post is a nice tribute.

I hope all is well for you and yours. And RIP Kidd Kraddick.

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