||Radio's Bond With Its Listeners: As Strong as Ever
One of radio's biggest advantages is its proven ability to inspire loyalty among its listeners by connecting with them on an emotional level.
This was especially evident over the weekend, following the stunning death of legendary on-air personality Kidd Kraddick. His sudden passing prompted an outpouring of sadness and tributes among his legion of fans, most of whom felt as though they had lost a good friend.
Kraddick's highly-successful morning show has been a fixture on Dallas' "Kiss FM" KHKS-FM since the early 90's. Although his program had become nationally syndicated in 2001, the Dallas-Fort Worth area remained his home base, and his local support had continued to grow over the years.
Kraddick's death occurred on Saturday, while he was attending a charity golf tournament in New Orleans benefitting his beloved non-profit foundation, Kidd's Kids, which provides all-expenses paid vacations to Disney World for chronically ill and/or physically challenged children. When the announcement was made that he had died, fans immediately began creating a makeshift memorial outside the KHKS studio in Irving, leaving flowers and personal notes offering their condolences.
Newscasts on all of the local TV affiliates devoted lengthy segments to the tragic announcement throughout the weekend, including interviews with emotional fans who had come to the station to pay their respects. Listeners continued to stop by the studio on Monday morning, as they shared memories with other members of Kidd's morning team.
Tweets from celebrities such as Jon Bon Jovi, Ryan Seacrest, Kelly Clarkson and Dr. Phil McGraw expressed their sympathies, but many of the most heartfelt messages came from Kraddick’s everyday fans, many of them having literally grown up listening to him. Here are a few examples of the thousands of comments that were posted on local websites:
"I cried and laughed every morning with him for as long as I can remember...You will be missed."
"So heartbreaking! We all feel like we have lost a dear friend! We have been listening to him for so many years and he always made my day so much better."
"This is such a tragic loss. I felt like he was part of my family; he was the BEST."
"I've been listening to him since I was a young teen. My mornings will never be the same without him!"
"I have cried with him; now I cry for him. God bless you, Kidd, for all the smiles you put on people's faces and all the children’s lives that you made better."
Commenting on the obvious bond that Kraddick had forged with his listeners, one of his morning drive competitors noted, "Kidd didn't just do bits; he wanted to establish a relationship with his audience, which he did extremely well."