A few months ago, when Charleston learned of the tragic death of Brad Cooper, the city was stunned. After all, Brad Cooper was just 21 years old and seemed to have the world in his hands. He had just started his second internet radio station, a milestone that many had celebrated at a launch party thrown at Tivoli.
I met Brad in late 2011 while he was covering a story for the CisternYard (CofC's newspaper). Brad was an intrepid young reporter and an excellent writer. After that story, Brad and I would frequently run into each other on campus, and he would tell me about his endless supply of ideas he had for stories, for protests, or the Charleston scene. He threw increasingly attended "Wu-Tang Parties" behind Reid Brothers and talked about music.
Before long, Brad had already started Kinetic HiFi, a local online talk radio station open to hosts of all political stripes, and was getting ready to start TheFIX.fm. At the launch party, Brad was over the moon, hurriedly explaining all of the intricacies of radio. He used to call me from time to time, trying to convince me to bring a progressive talk show to Kinetic HiFi, which I was never ready to do. While we weren't close friends, Brad was one of my favorite people, and I would have felt honored to be one of his.
Like everyone else who knew Brad Cooper, when he died, I wished I would have been able to spend more time with him, maybe take him up on his radio offer. From all accounts, he was as much of a joy to work with as he was to listen to Wu Tang with.
At Brad's viewing in July, I couldn't work up the nerve to speak with his family. Never knowing the right words to say in such difficult situations, I left without offering my condolences. I felt almost guilty that our city had gotten so much from their son, while they were thousands of miles away.
"Cooperfest," a benefit arranged by Charleston's musicians in honor of Brad and in support of his radio station, was a celebration of the life Brad lived and the legacy he has left behind. Spirits were high, and there was a warm feeling in knowing that Brad would have liked the party. Brad's mother, uncle, and sister were all in attendance, having flown thousands of miles to be present.
This time, I was able to speak with Brad's family, who were incredibly touched by the benefit show. For my first blog post with CharlestonGrit.com, I decided to try to shoot some video of the event. I hope that the video will serve as a memento of the occasion and a replayable reminder of how profoundly this young, ambitious kid impacted the Charleston music community.