Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Casey's Countdown Is Over

Top 40 Countdown king Casey Kasem has switched off the mic.
Kasem passed away last Sunday (US time), surrounded by family and friends...
...recently however Kasem was surrounded by a feud between his three adult kids and his second wife. In 2013, his children went to court to gain control of his care, alleging Kasem was suffering from advanced Parkinson's disease and that his wife was isolating him from friends and family. Kasem also suffered from a form of dementia.
Last May a judge stripped his wife of her caretaker role, after she moved him from a Los Anglees medical facility to a friend's home in Washington state. She said she did so to protect his privacy and to consult with doctors. Casey developed a severe bedsore while there, and was in critical condition by the time he was hospitalised in early June...
But let's wind the turntable back: Kasem's legendary American Top 40 began on 04 July 1970, in LA: the first show featured the very last time both Elvis Presley and The Beatles had songs simultaneously in the Top 10.
Kasem (the son of Lebanese immigrants) said in 1975: "The idea from the beginning was to do the type of thing on radio that Ed Sullivan did on tv - good honest stories with human interest."
While many DJs degraded their performances with crap stunts and 'morning zoo' garbage, Kasem would read listeners' long-distance dedications and background anecdotes about the singers. His cheerful manner and gentle voice was heard on over a thousand stations in 50 countries. He stepped down from AT40 in 2004 and retired in 2009.
Kasem's voice was also heard in TV cartoons such as Scooby-Doo (he was Shaggy) and in numerous commercials.
Many of us in the radio industry remember playing his AT40. The show was recorded in the US late in the week, pressed onto vinyl overnight (ahhhh, those were the days!!!) and rushed to stations for play that weekend. In the days before satellite feeds and digital downloads, that service was phenomenal! Those who still have a weekly AT40 boxed set will treasure it as a piece of radio history.
As too was his classic signoff: "Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars."
Casey Kasem was 82.

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