Charese Fruge’ Talks To Kellie Rasberry

This article was originally posted to AllAccess’ “Women To Watch” series, written by Charese Fruge on March 30, 2021 

Wow! Twenty seven years of Morning Show success on the same station, in the same role. That’s quite an accomplishment for Kellie Rasberry, Co-Host of the nationally syndicated “Kidd Kraddick Morning Show.” It’s just one of the reasons so many women in the industry admire her and everything she’s accomplished. In addition to her role on the “Kidd Kraddick Morning Show,” Kellie also hosts the weekly “Love Letters to Kellie…the Podcast,” with producer Robert Ehrman, and the twice-weekly “A Sandwich and Some Lovin’” podcast with her husband Allen Evans. Together, Kellie and Allen also own the online retail boutique, Emma Kelly & Me.

She’s got a lot going on now, but here’s how it all started for Kellie. “When I was 19, I got my first job in radio on WJMX in Florence, SC. I would sit in with the morning DJ and if he decided to put me on the air, I’d get paid. After a few months, the news girl quit, and they offered me the job. Fast forward 8 years, and I responded to an ad in Radio & Records about some DJ in Dallas who was looking for a new sidekick. I applied for the job and began my dream career as Kidd Kraddick’s radio wife.”

It sounds easier when Kellie describes it, but truth be told, she had to face a quite intimidating audition before she got her foot in the door in radio. “My dream was to be a sitcom actress, so I went to a talent convention hoping to be discovered by an agent who would whisk me off to Hollywood,” she says. “Instead, I met the owner of a radio station who thought I had what it took to be a radio personality. He suggested that I call his friend who happened to be the GM of a station in my hometown of Florence, SC. I went home and immediately called Harold Miller, who then told me to come in and show him what I could do.

He and the morning guy Bob Boswell basically sat me down in front of the largest tape recorder I’d ever seen and left me alone for 30 minutes. I sat there and did every accent I could think of, attempted to sing opera, and did my best impression of Dr. Ruth Westheimer. They came back into the room, listened to it in front of me — which was horrifying — and told me they didn’t have a job to offer me at the moment. However, they did offer me the opportunity to sit in the studio with Bob every morning. If he used me for a bit, I’d be paid by the hour. Otherwise, I would just sit there and watch, soaking it all in. I showed up every day with a box of donuts and a smile, and after a few months, the news girl quit, and they asked me to take her place,” says Rasberry.

Now that’s determination! It’s not hard to figure out why Kellie has achieved so much both personally and professionally. “My proudest achievement will always be that Kidd Kraddick chose me,” she says. “Because of him, I have all the blessings in my life that I have now. Also because of Kidd, I’ve had the joy of working with ‘Kidd’s Kids,’ which has taken hundreds of children with life-altering conditions to Disney World. We’re so honored to continue that charity he started 30 years ago. And in 2019, I not only celebrated my 25th year with the ‘Kidd Kraddick Morning Show,’ I was also honored to receive the Gracie Award for Co-Host of a National Radio Show, as well as the Airblazer Award presented by the Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio Group.”

For Kellie, being in the same position for so long is quite the blessing. “This May will mark my 27th anniversary with the ‘Kidd Kraddick Morning Show.’ Our listeners are truly like family,” she says. “Now when I go out to speak at different events, it’s very common for someone to come up to me and say they grew up listening to me in the back seat of their mama’s car as she drove them to school, and then they’ll introduce me to their child who is now growing up and listening to me in the back seat! It doesn’t make me feel old. It makes me feel BLESSED. I am a part of so many people’s memories and I’m still a part of creating new ones. What could be better than that? And there are zero cons for me, other than sleep deprivation.”

Kellie attributes her longevity and success to her mentor. “Kidd Kraddick put us in the position to succeed,” she says. “He chose the right mix of personalities and let each of us shine. He recognized how important it was to let our audience really get to know us. That allowed us to build relationships with our listeners, who showed their loyalty to us when Kidd passed away. A lot of people thought the show would die with him, but our audience wasn’t about to let that happen. They stuck by us through those first rocky months without Kidd and they just kept on listening. Without their loyalty, we wouldn’t be on the air today.”

Naturally, the loss of Kidd Kraddick was tragic for Kellie and her teammates. “I don’t think anything could be more challenging than having the host of your show die unexpectedly. We just leaned on each other, leaned on our listeners and every time we heard we couldn’t do it, it made us more resolved to show them all that we could,” she says. “That doesn’t mean we weren’t scared, but we shared all of those fears and vulnerabilities with our audience, which only strengthened our relationship with them.”

With twenty seven years of history and everything Kellie has been through on the show, I asked her how her role has changed over the years. “I think when Kidd died, a lot of people expected me to take over as host, but I really felt that job should go to J-Si,” she says. “At that point, I had to become his number one cheerleader and it was important for the audience to know that he had my blessing. Kidd always allowed me to have a large role on the show, which I continue to have to this day. But I think overall, I’ve just evolved naturally from being the single girl to the married woman to the divorcée to the cougar to the remarried woman. I’m often told that I’m the conscience of the show, and I like the sound of that.”

I also asked her for advice on encouraging women to take on the responsibility of becoming strong and/or lead Talent and how can we help them with the roadblocks they face? According to Kellie, “It really helps when you have men and women in management positions who celebrate your talent, have your back and cheer you on. My advice is always to show up with enthusiasm, do those shifts and appearances nobody wants to take, and ASK FOR MORE.”

Kellie added, “Kidd hired so many wonderful women who worked for our show over the years and I’m still friends with the majority of them. In fact, when Kidd died, they all raced to my house to rally around me and thanks to radio they are even more important to me. We laughed and cried, and they lifted me up when I needed it most. We’re truly friends for life. Mentoring is important, but I think the friendships I’ve gained thanks to radio are even more important to me.”

Another big challenge for Kellie, like everyone else on the planet was 2020 and the pandemic. “There were so many negative things that happened in 2020, but a lot of positive things came from the pandemic, as well,” she says. “I got to know my neighbors a lot better thanks to many socially distanced wine-fueled nights in the cul-de-sac. My husband and I found out we really, REALLY like each other. We learned to appreciate things we’ve always taken for granted,” says Rasberry. “As far as professionally, I was just so thankful that our boss had our engineer go to each of our homes and set up the equipment we needed to continue doing the show safely from home. Due to the audio delays, it’s affected our ability to do our regular phone-driven bits, so it’s forced us to stretch our creative muscles to keep the show entertaining.”

Kellie did stay busy during the downtime. “2020 was shaping up to be the busiest year of my career and then POOF! Everything was canceled. I still kept busy doing the ‘Kidd Kraddick Morning Show’ and recording 3 podcasts a week, but I did enjoy bingeing some shows,” she says. “My husband and I finally started watching ‘The Office’ right before they yanked it off Netflix. It’s the only reason we got Peacock, which led me to binge the reboot of ‘Saved by the Bell.’ We tried watching ‘Breaking Bad,’ but we just weren’t feeling it. Several people have said we just have to get to episode six and we’ll be hooked, but we haven’t gotten around to that yet. I also enjoyed bingeing ‘The Queen’s Gambit,’ ‘Firefly Lane,’ ‘Sweet Magnolias’ and ‘The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City.’ I binged ‘Emily in Paris,’ as well, but I’m still conflicted over that one. Did I like it or not?”

According to Kellie, NOTHING keeps her up at night. “I sleep really, really well when I finally get to bed,” she says. “I’m one of those people who keeps finding one more thing that I HAVE to do before bedtime — like empty the dishwasher…or throw in one more load of laundry…or clean out the junk drawer…or organize my bras…. super important things that just can’t wait till the next day.”

As for what brings her balance: “Dating my husband. Spending time with my teenage daughter. Calling my parents. Having lunch with my girlfriends. Reading my Bible. Walking my dogs. Sleeping in on Saturdays. Slightly dirty martinis with blue cheese olives.”

What does Kellie want to be known for? “I just love being a part of people’s memories. It blows me away when someone vividly remembers something they heard me say from over 20 years ago. It’s nice to think that maybe they’ll still be sharing those memories after I’m gone — just like they do with Kidd.”

And as for what we have to look forward to from Kellie? “I’m just going to keep on talking until people tell me they’ve heard enough.”

Follow Kellie on Instagram and Twitter @KellieRasberry and on Facebook @KellieRasberryEvans