I have been a fan of radio legend Casey Kasem since the early 1970’s. He was a role model for me as a young aspiring disc jockey in Waco and Dallas. After being on the air in the 1960’s locally in Los Angeles on 50,000 watt Top 40 KRLA (“Serving Southern California From Pasadena”), he arrived on the national scene as the host of American Top 40 which was syndicated to hundreds of radio stations. The show (which still airs today hosted by radio and TV personality Ryan Seacrest and heard locally on 106.1 KISS-FM) counted down the top 40 songs of the week as determined by Billboard Magazine and record sales (today it is more downloads and Youtube hits).
He was the king of the tease…”coming up, a group that started in high school in Detroit with only $5 in their pocket…” The show was well produced with jingles and other production elements to give the show energy (“Number 1!”). He also would recognize those stations who carried the show like…”You’re listening to American Top 40 on great radio stations like”….and some of the stations were big market but most were smaller markets. Casey knew his audience and took care of the station clients. He also created the “long distance dedication” where a listener would write in a letter (no email or text back then) and say, “Dear Casey, I am missing my boyfriend as he is stationed overseas in the military”, then he would close with sincerely yours, the name of the person who wrote the letter, and then play the song. The articulation in his voice was second to none and you felt he was speaking directly to you.
Today, the news on Casey is about his fight against Parkinson’s Disease and the fight over his estate between his current wife and his kids from his previous marriage (the kids have been prevented from seeing Casey). This week it was reported he was missing from his home but now has been confirmed that he was taken to the state of Washington and is safe. My blog is not about whether who is right or wrong here and I will let a court decide that. I wanted to take this opportunity to tell Casey what an impact he made on this guy from Dallas and how grateful we all were to have him on the radio “counting down the 40 most popular songs in the nation today.” And if you have never heard him before, go listen to the encore airings on the weekend on Sirius XM 70’s On 7…Saturday middays and Sunday mornings. He was the consummate music countdown host on radio and set the standards for today.
God bless you, Casey. See you next time.
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