Kidd Kraddick tribute in Dallas: music, laughter, tears

Posted 9:55pm on Thursday, Aug. 15, 2013

Kidd Kraddick loved music, both as a fan and as a syndicated radio personality who helped out budding artists. So it was fitting that the “Tribute to Kidd” on Thursday evening intertwined music and memories.

The event at AT&T Plaza in Dallas’ Victory Park honored the longtime host of Kidd Kraddick in the Morning, who died unexpectedly on July 27 of heart disease at age 53.

The tribute featured performances by Ben Folds, Kraddick’s favorite musical artist; Tim Halperin, a TCU graduate who became a frequent guest on Kraddick’s show after the DJ thought Halperin was eliminated too early from American Idol; and Kraddick’s daughter, Caroline Cradick, who performed a moving a cappella rendition of Over the Rainbow to close the tribute.

“All this love I’ve been receiving the last couple of weeks has just been amazing,” Cradick told the crowd earlier (Kraddick’s real name was David Cradick).

“I want to publicly thank you for sending me your good vibes and your love and your kind words. I’m so thankful and I love you all — thank you, thank you, thank you so much.”

Cradick then sang a duet of Coldplay’s hit Yellow with Halperin, who started the tribute with an intense version of Adele’s Rolling in the Deep and his own The Last Song. Later, Cradick could be spotted backstage dabbing tears during Folds’ performance of The Luckiest, a song Kraddick loved so much that he had the title tattooed on one arm.

(Update: Caroline Cradick talked with The Dallas Morning News’ Robert Wilonsky before the event. It’s a good interview; read it here.)

The cast of Kidd Kraddick in the Morning — Kellie Rasberry, “Big Al” Mack, Jose “J-Si” Chavez, Jenna Owens and longtime producer Shanon Murphy — shared memories of working with Kraddick.

“He loved it when I was wrong, which was very rare,” said Rasberry, who has been with the show for 19 years. “So rare, in fact, that whenever it did happen, he did a ‘Kellie’s wrong’ dance, which would burn me up.

“But sadly, I’m never going to have to be wrong in front of him and watch him do this dance again.”

Large screens in the plaza then displayed a clip of Kraddick in the studio doing a goofy dance in celebration of Rasberry’s wrongness.

Other clips included humorous ones featuring Rasberry and Owens trying to teach Kraddick how to pose for pictures and Murphy playing a prank on a college student under Kraddick’s direction.

Other speakers included Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and the Jonas Brothers. The Jonas Brothers — along with Halperin, Jason Derulo, Andy Grammer and Cimorelli — were scheduled to perform Thursday night at House of Blues Dallas at A Concert for Kidd’s Kids, a benefit for Kraddick’s charity for terminally and chronically ill children.

The emcee for the public tribute was Billy “The Kidd” Green, the afternoon DJ at KHKS/106.1 “KISS-FM,” which was Kraddick’s Dallas-Fort Worth radio home for about 20 years. Even after Kraddick took his show into syndication, eventually airing in more than 75 markets nationwide, he maintained his relationship with KISS and was instrumental in bringing Green to the station after a rival Top 40 station changed formats.

“I think when you hear KISS, you automatically and should associate Kidd with that,” Green told the Star-Telegram before the tribute. “I mean, he’s been our only morning show, ever, no matter what.”

Green and nighttime personality Cruz went on the air the night of July 27 to break the news of Kraddick’s death to KISS listeners, spending long hours of the night and into the next afternoon taking calls from listeners who wanted to talk about Kraddick, a fixture in DFW radio since 1984 (he previously worked on KEGL/97.1 FM).

“It doesn’t feel real yet,” Green said. “So we’re taking it one day at a time. I know Kidd wouldn’t want us to be sitting around here moping, so we’re just trying to maintain somewhat a normal life and playing music and keeping his music and Kidd’s Kids alive.”

Robert Philpot, 817-390-7872 Twitter: @rphilpot

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