50 years ago today the news of JFK’s assassination spread throughout the world by young radio reporters covering a once-in-a-life-time event. What they didn’t know is the impact covering that story would have for the rest of their lives. Asked to retell what they did, how they felt, what they knew and when they knew it each November 22 for the next five decades.
Gary Delaune is one of those guys. He was a 30-year-old anchor preparing for the one o’clock news at KLIF in Dallas with plans to rush out to see the President’s speech immediately after.
“I was in the studio by myself at the time. I had just done the Noon news. That’s when I got a phone tip asking me what I knew about the shots being fired at the motorcade and both Kennedy and Connelly being hit.”
Delaune was a guest on the Radio Stuff podcast.
“I signaled the DJ and at about 12:36:55 during a song called the Chiffon’s “I Have a Boyfriend,” 1:38 deep into the 45 r.p.m., the old-style record, we broke in and had the bulletin and of course at that point on it was almost incessant.”
Now, 80-years-old, Delaune remembers every detail, every character, everything except Saturday. He reported all day long, but doesn’t remember doing any of it. Sunday, was different. He was witness to the Lee Harvey Oswald perp walk and assassination by Jack Ruby.
“He was on one side of the cameraman and I was on the other with Bob Baxley, the Pulitzer Prize winning photographer. As Oswald came out Jack took a step and a half from the crowd of newsmen and pumped him full right into Oswald’s gut.”
Jack was no stranger to Dulaune and was even hanging around the day of JFK’s shooting.
“Jack Ruby was at the Dallas Morning News and he serpentined his way through the streets and got to KLIF. He was a groupie. You know, one of those guys who is a hanger on. He wanted to be somebody and hung around KLIF and radio stations. And he started answering the phone, ‘Jack Ruby, KLIF News’ – anything he could.”
Delaune’s full account and complete retrospective of radio’s role in covering the events that weekend are explored in this week’s Radio Stuff podcast.
98.5 The Sports Hub hosts Toucher and Rich interviewed Rick Pitino today. Listen.
It was a brief but memorable conversation.
Toucher: We are joined by Rick Pitino, former coach of the Celtics, current coach of the Louisville Cardinals who won the national championship. Rick Pitino, hello!
Pitino: Morning, guys.
Toucher: You stink. You ruined the Celtics.
Toucher then hung up
Here’s the deal. Yes, it went super viral. Yes, they’re getting a lot of attention. Yes, ratings may even go up. But that doesn’t mean YOU should start insulting and hanging up on guests.
– The first show to do it gets the attention. The second show to do this will be seen as wannabe-jerks… or not seen at all, because no one will care that it happened again.
– There are very few sports radio stations that have brands to support such on-air antics; The Hub, The Ticket in Dallas, who else?
– It’s not a great way to build relationships in the business (and this business is about relationships and access) and chances are Toucher and Rich will find some guests they want to interview who are Pitino sympathizers who refused to join them. I’m sure they don’t care. But, that’s their brand, their show, their swagger.
The lesson here is be yourself, be passionate, spontaneous, unpredictable, unique and compelling. Create moments on your show that resonate with your fans.
Kidd Kraddick – a Dallas radio institution and syndicated radio host – died suddenly in New Orleans where he was for a golf tournament to help raise money for his children’s charity Kidd’s Kids. The charity is dedicated to helping impact the lives of children who have terminal or chronic illnesses or are accident victims. He was 53.
The charity golf tournament wasn’t Kidd’s last selfless act. It turns out when one of radio’s good guys goes too soon, the walls come down between personalities and radio stations and we all mourn and celebrate his life and career as one industry. In his death he’s helping to unite the radio community. Here’s a sprinkling of the reactions.
So sad hearing about my radio brother Kid Kraddick. One of a kind and one of the best at what he did every morning. U will be missed Kidd
— Tom Leykis (@tomleykis) July 28, 2013
Crushed. Absolutely crushed. One of my mentors and best friends in radio. RT @mcuban: RIP Kidd Kraddick. You were an amazing man & a friend.
— Toucher and Rich (@Toucherandrich) July 28, 2013
There’s really no way Kidd could have understood the impact he’s had on so many people and the radio industry in general. He even made an impact to radio friends around the world. The reaction on Twitter, Facebook, and coverage in news has been overwhelming. One listener credits Kidd for “restoring his faith and belief in FM radio.”
And I too have found myself caught up in it. I didn’t know Kidd, but I’ve respected him from afar and have never heard anyone say a bad thing about him. No one. Which, in this ego-fueled industry, isn’t just rare – it’s an anomaly. It’s the exception to the rule.
News of his death strangely shook me up. I supposed when someone dies so young and suddenly it makes you consider your own mortality (as he was doing just last week on the radio show.) Death touches us each differently. It can be an end or a beginning, simultaneously a rebirth of spirit and the death of a man. Having gone through the death of my father I understand the impact of losing someone close to me. I also know I appreciated it when his friends and colleagues shared their stories and his wisdom with me.
To honor Kidd’s legacy, I have extracted some of the rules of life and radio he’s left behind. These rules come directly from words and phrases used by his family of colleagues and listeners.
Kidd Kraddick Rules of Life and Radio
Bring laughter and joy to people’s lives whenever you can.
- Listeners remembering the lovable and entertaining Kidd share stories of morning giggles, wide smiles, and brighter days.
Use your talent to build something greater than yourself.
- Kidd’s charities were extremely important to him, he helped countless kids and families in their darkest moments. He didn’t have to. Listeners admire his kindness and dedication and lift him up as an inspiration.
Don’t be afraid to lead with your heart.
- Listeners and co-workers describe Kidd as having a big heart and full of compassion. They admired his love of children. When you lead with your heart, you make a difference in people’s lives.
Be authentically you.
- Kidd was a natural talent who made friends at every turn. He related to listeners and listeners related to him. It was truly a radio family and listeners are grieving over the loss of a friend.
- In addition to his charity work, Kidd was a mentor for dozens of people in the radio industry, he gave up-and-coming bands exposure, respect and a shot, and his positivity helped spread light through the country each day.
“Keep looking up, cause that’s where it all is.” – Kidd Kraddick
I am a pretty positive guy. But, put me in a room full of legacy (old-time) radio vets and it’s easy to get caught up in a cyclone of negativity when it comes to the future of radio. That’s why it’s so important to look outside yourself, your radio station, your format, and sometimes your industry to find out what CAN be done and how you can make a difference.
Tim Sanders (twitter: @sanderssays) is the former Chief Solutions Officer of Yahoo! and author of “Today We Are Rich.” Last month, he spoke to a group of radio folk at the Talk Media Conference in Dallas.
He was just the shot of ‘get-off-your-butt-and-do-something’ that I needed. I believe most leaders in radio needs to listen to more guys like Sanders who offer inspiration, preach innovation, and provide motivation. In his opening address to leaders of talk radio Tim affirmed what we all know, “the reality is there’s a lot of trouble (in radio).” But, he didn’t wallow in it, like many of us like to do. He pointed to Napoleon who defined a leader as someone who, “defines reality and then gives hope.” Hope is what has been missing from most of the discussions I’ve been privy to in regards to the future of radio. I’m going to try harder to be a provider of it.
Sanders insisted that the time is now for all of us to get busy. (my interpretation; stop talking about how bad things are going to be and how antiquated radio is — and start doing something about it).
Sanders is a real positive force. His advice assembled below for easy consumption is valuable if you’re a programmer, a talent, a producer, an account executive, sales manager, front desk receptionist, engineer or other…
Feed Your Mind With Good Stuff and Get Rid of the Poison in Your Life
1. Understand that “success” is not a destination, it’s a mind-set — an attitude.
2. Feed your mind with success experiences (the great interview you did, the sale you closed, the great story you broke, etc.)
3. Read your fan mail. Save it and pull it out in high-stress moments to remind yourself of your successes and how what you do does make a difference.
4. Move the conversation forward. This is how you change culture. Culture is just a conversation about how things are done. Stop asking people, “how’s it going?” and start asking, “what are you excited about?”
5. Don’t reward fire starters.
6. Be conscious that you have thee invisible things to give — and they grow as you go; knowledge, network, and compassion.
- Share your knowledge; you will not get dumb helping to make people smarter.
- Activate your network; you spent a lot of time meeting people and making an impression — now what are you going to do with it? Are their people in your network that should know each other? Introduce them.
- And be compassionate. Sanders reminds us that feelings are facts to the person who is feeling.
So,…what are you excited about?
Every station puts a different spin on Super Bowl coverage. Due to the NFL’s rules, we all find creative ways to tell listeners we are covering the Super Bowl, having a party, or holding a contest around it without actually saying “Super Bowl.”
In Atlanta, the Two Live Stews are throwing their annual “Stewper Bowl Party.” Around the country, there are a lot of variations of “The Big Game,” including Big Game Party, Big Game Sunday, and Big Game Break Down.
Some stations are hosting a “GameDay Super Party.” Others feature “Sights & Sounds from Dallas.” “SB45” and “DFW XVL 411” are clever too.
If none of these work for you, this year may I suggest you just call it the “Super Brrr.”
As a service to the masses of sports radio hosts, producers and managers who are preparing to descend upon Dallas for the Super Bowl and festivities, LarryGifford.com conducted a survey on where to eat when you’re there.
Others include: Nick & Sam’s, Perry’s Steakhouse, The Mansion, Al Bernats, Del Frisco, The Palm and Craft.
Not in the mood for a steak, no problem. Here are the best of the rest of the restaurants in Dallas/Ft. Worth.
• Kincaid’s Burgers (Ft. Worth) — an old grocery store turned into a burger joint
• Dickey’s Barbecue Pit• Reata (downtown Ft. Worth )
• Chef Tim Love’s Lonesome Dove (Stockyards)
• Fearings at the Ritz-Carlton
• Stephan Pyles — New Southwestern Cuisine
• Trece — contemporary Mexican kitchen and tequila lounge
• Mia’s Tex-Mex — a destination for Dallas Cowboys and local celebs
• Shinsei — Sushi Bar with Pan-Asian kitchen
• Carmines Pizzeria — New York style pizza
Finally some friendly advice from radio folks in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area…
1. Fort-Worth and Dallas cultures are quite different. Fort Worth is very laid-back and easy for getting around. Dallas is more high-tone and can be somewhat snobby. It’s also about a 30-40 minute drive between the two.
2. We have a lot of a-hole drivers, mainly idiots in pickup trucks. People rarely pay attention to road signs and will often go 20mph+ in the left lane.
3. We don’t have horses and there aren’t any dude ranches in town. Not everyone speaks with a country accent. There are no oil derricks and very few wear cowboy hats.