David Cradick aka Kidd Kraddick spent the first five years of his life living in Napoleon.
His father, Estil, was a newspaper ad salesman for the Northwest Signal.
His older brother, Len, briefly attended high school at Central Catholic in Toledo.
Another brother, Gary, was a huge Detroit Tigers fan.
One day, Kidd s dad came home from work and decided to leave the Henry County town along the banks of the Maumee River and relocate to a warmer climate.
That, in itself, turned out to be an action-packed adventure.
My dad hated the cold, so he packed up the family we got in a station wagon with wood paneling on the side and he said, We re going to find another place to live, said Kraddick, whose syndicated radio show airs on 58 affiliates nationwide, including locally on WTWR-FM, 98.3, weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m.
We drove across the country to California. I remember us stopping in Tarzana, Anaheim, and then San Francisco. My dad didn t like any of those places, so we got back in the car and drove straight across the country and down to Florida.
Dad eventually parked the car, got out, and walked into a restaurant. The waitress there was from Toledo, so he came back out and told us, This is it. This is where we re staying. We were in Dunedin, which is about the same size as Napoleon, in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area. And dad ended up working for the Pinellas Times. It was a weekly shopper.
Kidd and his family continued to visit friends and relatives in Napoleon up until four years ago.
But now that his show, based in the Dallas suburb of Las Colinas, is being beamed back to the Toledo market it replaced Johny D and the Morning Crew at WTWR late last month Kraddick hopes to visit again sometime soon.
I ve put Toledo at the top of our affiliates, he said. I want to get up there and meet the people at Cumulus and see some old friends again. I hope to do that sometime this summer.
Kraddick, who is in his early 40s, knew he wanted to pursue a radio career after serving as an emergency disc jockey for a dance in 10th grade.
He landed his first job at a Tampa station at age 18. Following stints in Miami, Salt Lake City, and Los Angeles, he settled in Dallas more than 20 years ago.
Kidd has been married to his wife, Carol, for 17 years. They have a teenage daughter, Caroline. Both are regular participants on his program.
Kraddick s show, which includes sidekicks Kellie Rasberry and Big Al Mack, was first syndicated five years ago, with six stations.
We had the No. 1 show in Dallas for more than 10 years, Kidd said. I started to feel a little stagnated and unchallenged. I thought if we could get the show syndicated, it might pump us up and get us excited. And it has.
Toledo (87th) is among the largest markets Kraddick s show is heard on. The biggest are Dallas-Fort Worth (fifth), San Antonio (29th), Austin, Tex. (42nd), New Orleans (57th) and Baton Rouge, La. (77th).
The first year we are in a market is always the toughest, he said. People have to get used to us. But the show has been very successful and gets good ratings anywhere it s been on for more than a year.
We re hoping to eventually get to 100 stations. That sounds like a good number to me.
Kraddick has been recognized several times for his broadcasting excellence with national awards.
He also has been honored for his commitment to charity. His organization, Kidd s Kids, raises money to send terminally and chronically ill children and their families to Walt Disney World for five days.
He has accompanied more than 1,500 children and their families on the trip every November since 1991.
Although Kraddick has lived in the southern part of the country for most of his life, he considers himself a Midwest guy at heart.
My entire family is from that part of the country, Kidd said. My mom and dad went to Purdue. Everyone in my family either rooted for the Indians or Tigers, and the Browns or Lions. I tried to be a Lions fan, but it was not easy, so I adopted the Browns, which isn t easy, either. I ve always been a tremendous Indians fan.
Kraddick can only hope that Toledo listeners become equally as rabid about him.
Ron Musselman is The Blade s media columnist.
Contact him at: email@example.com or 419-724-6474.