DALLAS, Texas -- The "Kidd Kraddick in the Morning" crew took to the airwaves for a full broadcast Monday for the first time since the death of the program's namesake.
Afterward, they all sat down together for the first time to talk with me about continuing Kidd's legacy.
I played golf with Kidd Kraddick (and a lot of poker, too). It seems like everything I ever did with him cost me money.
But Kraddick's death could be costing a lot of people a lot of money
"Kidd Kraddick in the Morning" on KISS-FM was syndicated around the country; it was part of a national TV show; and it was Kraddick and his morning crew who made the mornings just a little more bearable for thousands of people on their way to work.
Kidd Kraddick lived to make people laugh, and he lived enough and laughed enough; his 53 years were more like 73.
But it's "Kidd Kraddick in the Morning" without Kidd Kraddick now, and I talked about that with his on-air staff: Kellie Rasberry, Big Al Mack, J-Si Chavez and Jenna Owens.
"It's such a team effort with all of us," Mack said. "The first time that I pulled up to the radio station to do the radio station after he passed away, I got goose bumps ... personally, I've never been nervous going on the radio, but I was nervous today. I was more nervous than I've ever been before, and it was just fear of the unknown."
"I went into it with the mentality so I wouldn't get too emotional," Chavez said. "'Oh, he's just not coming into work today. He's sick. So we're going to handle the show for him, and he'll be back tomorrow.' But then, if you do it that way every day, you're going to eventually come to the realization that he's not coming in."
"We had a few moments of that slow pause... and Kidd was great with keeping up the energy and the pace," Owens said. "But honestly, he's irreplaceable. I think we've all kind of agreed that we're not going to try and replace him with our own personalities. We're just going to be bigger versions of ourselves, because no one can replace him."
But in the wake of Kraddick's death, is it awkward to laugh again?
"I think it's exactly the right thing to do," Rasberry said. "I was very anxious to get back in the studio today because I think we needed a sense of normalcy; the audience needed that normalcy; there's comfort in routine; there's comfort in the familiar. So we wanted to give them the show they always know. It's not going to be the same, but we're going to add new elements and keep some of the old, and hopefully, the laughs will come. I think we had a few this morning."
Does there still need to be another person leading this ensemble group, or can you carry this on your own?
"We're just going to have to wait and see like everybody else," Mack said. For a long-term basis, we've never done this before. I mean, we've all done radio for quite a while, but we've never done it in this environment."
"I think I have more confidence in us than you do," Rasberry added. "I think Kidd groomed us for the moment that he wasn't going to be here, and I don't think he meant to die on us, but he was planning for our futures past him ... he did prepare each of us to be able to handle it, and I think we can."
How important is it to keep the legacy of Kidd's Kids alive?
"Top of the list," Mack said.
Chavez agreed. "The most important," he said at almost the same time. "If we can maintain Kidd's Kids until after we retire -- and I think we can -- it would be a huge victory."