TUNE INTO KZ103 AT 7 A.M. TODAY to hear Kidd Kraddick’s co-hosts remember him. The show will remember Kraddick this week with “best of” episodes.
BY SHEENA BARNETT
TUPELO – Radio won’t be the same for a lot of listeners this morning.
Fans across the nation, including here in Northeast Mississippi, are mourning the loss of radio personality Kidd Kraddick, host of “Kidd Kraddick in the Morning.”
Kraddick, 53, died Saturday at his Kidd’s Kids charity golf event near New Orleans. His cause of death has not been released. His syndicated radio show airs each morning on KZ103.
Kraddick’s death comes the same week as Tupelo’s Travis Hunsicker leaves to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, a trip he won through the radio show.
“It was back in January, and it was the ‘I Have a Dream’ contest. Listeners wrote in and told them what their dream was,” Hunsicker, 31, said. “Mine was to go back to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. I went back in 2008 and got within five hours of the summit, but I didn’t make it, so I wrote in a letter and they picked it.”
Hunsicker leaves Saturday. He hopes to have a flag made in honor of Kraddick to hold when he makes it to the top.
“I’m excited and anxious,” he said.
Texas-based Kraddick and his team, Big Al Mack, Kellie Rasberry, J-Si Chavez and Jenna Owens, spent each morning making listeners laugh and debating the news of the day.
Kraddick also was known for his generosity.
His show gave away lots of prizes, like Hunsicker’s, and Kraddick created a charity, Kidd’s Kids, to help chronic and terminally-ill children. He paid listeners’ bills and helped military families.
“(Kidd) and the whole crew, they’re hilarious, but the stuff they do to help others, that’s part of the reason why everybody loved them,” Hunsicker said.
Other listeners agreed.
“It feels like you’ve lost a friend,” said listener Shae McQuoid, who said she listens to his show every morning on her drive to work from her home in Shannon. “He was pretty vocal on some things, and I liked that.”
Nykia Burdine of Smithville, now 20, said she’s been a faithful listener since she was 8.
“I can honestly say I listened from third grade until senior year, and then I went to Itawamba Community College for two years, and I’d listen every morning,” she said. “I’d listen before class, and hate I missed something whenever I’d go to class.
“He truly cared about his kids’ charity,” Burdine said, “and you don’t find people like that anymore.”
Rick Stevens, director of operations for Tupelo Radio Broadcasting, a parent company of KZ103, said Kraddick’s show has run on KZ103 for 12 years and has been very popular.
“I met Kidd at a radio leadership conference in Dallas, and was amazed at how humble he was, as the biggest name in the room,” Stevens said. “Kidd had a big heart.”