The Industry Mourns The Passing Of Casey Kasem
American Top 40 Will Honor Kasem With On-Air, Online Tribute Next Weekend
June 16, 2014 at 6:34 AM (PT)
As NET NEWS first informed you YESTERDAY (NET NEWS 6/15), following months of legal family wrangling over his care and access to seeing him, the legendary CASEY KASEM, who was literally the voice of a generation as host and co-creator of the AMERICAN TOP 40 syndicated radio show, died on FATHER's DAY (6/15) at age 82 after complications from Lewy Body Dementia, a degenerative condition similar to Parkinson's Disease.
KERRI KASEM @KerriKasem Tweeted the sad news: "Early this Father’s Day morning, our dad CASEY KASEM passed away surrounded by family and friends. Even though we know he is in a better place and no longer suffering, we are heartbroken. Thank you for all your love, support and prayers. The world will miss CASEY KASEM, an incredible talent and humanitarian; we will miss our Dad. With love, KERRI, MIKE and JULIE."
KERRI also has posts about her dad, on her FACEBOOK PAGE.
The Industry Reacts
ALL ACCESS Pres./Publisher JOEL DENVER noted, "CASEY's death marks the passing of one of the truly innovative radio personalities of our time. CASEY brought to life the magic of AMERICAN TOP 40 to millions for years, and with that show, he created an indelible and beautiful spotlight on the importance of music and radio for generations of listeners. I had the pleasure of knowing and working with CASEY when we both recorded our respective shows for WESTWOOD ONE, and he was always a gentleman who had a big and caring heart. Rest in peace, CASEY."
CUMULUS MEDIA EVP/Co-COO JOHN DICKEY told ALL ACCESS, "We have lost one of the best story tellers in the business. He touched millions with AT 40. He will be missed."
CUMULUS MEDIA SVP/Corporate/Programming JAN JEFFRIES added, "The passing of CASEY ignites the reality of how very influential he was to us as an air talent and as a person. CASEY visited CHICAGO and WLS many times in the '80s. While here on different occasions, including his leadership role in 'Hands Across AMERICA,' CASEY always volunteered to co-host both drive times. A memory etched in stone is CASEY asking me for a copy of our 'hot sheet' listing WLS liners, promotions, etc. so he could 'plug in to WLS.' His mastery as an air talent set the standard for why we suit up everyday. Although silenced from the airwaves, CASEY's legacy and influence on radio will live on forever."
CUMULUS MEDIA SVP/Corporate Programming MIKE MCVAY added, "Like many, I learned about personality radio, listening to CASEY KASEM. I had the pleasure of meeting him three times in my life. Every time we met he was polite, humble and respectful. He was a star. He didn't have to be that way -- and he was. Seeing that is one of the things that taught me to show humility at all times. It's a strength. Thank you, CASEY. Your life impacted so many lives."
CLEAR CHANNEL CEO BOB PITTMAN shared with ALL ACCESS, "All of us who have worked in radio have been influenced by CASEY KASEM -- and the entire country has been touched by his AT40 as listeners. We are all grateful for his impact -- he will be missed"
CCM+E Pres./National Programming Platforms TOM POLEMAN added, "My radio career began in my basement doing countdowns for my family, pretending I was CASEY KASEM. I desperately wanted to be like him. He's the father of countdowns. And the master of how to tease listeners through a stopset. We learned so much from him. Radio wouldn't be where it is today without him."
CLEAR CHANNEL NETWORKS Pres. DARREN DAVIS said, "People all over AMERICA have fond memories of CASEY counting down the best songs each week. I can vividly remember listening to AMERICAN TOP 40 each SUNDAY morning when I was a kid, and CASEY's polished style and dedication to his craft helped me fall in love with radio. He was a true gem, and I'm grateful I got to meet him several times over the years. CASEY was such a wonderful man."
In a statement, PREMIERE NETWORKS said, "On behalf of everyone at PREMIERE NETWORKS, we offer our sincerest condolences to CASEY KASEM's family and friends. Our thoughts and prayers are with them during this most difficult time. One of the most recognizable voices in radio and television, CASEY set a gold standard for all broadcasters as the creator and host of AMERICAN TOP 40 for nearly 40 years, and he set the bar even higher outside the studio with his dedication to numerous charitable causes. While we're deeply saddened to say good bye to our dear friend, CASEY's legacy will live on in the hearts of his millions of fans worldwide."
Former WESWOODONE Founder/Chairman, and current PODCASTONE CEO NORM PATTIZ told ALL ACCESS, "In the early days of WESTWOOD ONE, we realized the we had to deliver the superstars in the radio business. That list started with CASEY. CASEY's AMERICAN TOP 40 brought all his listeners and fans to us but as important was the experience of working with a living legend who's talent and work ethic were second to none. Radio has lost an irreplaceable link to what was the best we had to offer."
THE TRIBUNE COMPANY Pres./Strategic Programming And Acquisition SEAN COMPTON said, "CASEY KASEM was the definition of a gentlemen. I was a kid with big radio dreams growing up in a small INDIANA town, it was CASEY's AMERICAN TOP 40 that became a constant part of my listening routine each weekend. By the time I was in my mid-twenties I had the privilege of working with him and more importantly becoming a friend. When my wife was pregnant with my first son, I heard from CASEY every week asking me how she was doing and when my first son arrived, it was CASEY who was one of the first to congratulate us.
"Professionally, CASEY was loyal; not one show ended in his 39 years of hosting AMERICA's most-listened-to program without him giving credit to his co-creators and entire producing staff. CASEY was a perfectionist, it took him 18 hours to track his first three-hour countdown; he read and edited every script in great detail. He was a great businessman and knew his value. He also never used his platform to promote a personal agenda or show favoritism. Personally, CASEY was humble, funny and a great father to his children. I'm sad that we no longer have CASEY KASEM with us but grateful he lived a long wonderful life that made our lives better."
CARSON DALY tweeted, "Long before MTV and the Internet #CASEYKASEM made sure you were hearing the best music out there. Peace be to his family and RIP. #Respect."
TOM JOYNER and the staff at REACH MEDIA reacted to the news. JOYNER (via TWITTER) wrote, “Today we lost someone I admired, CASEY KASEM. He was world-class, knew the power of radio, and will truly be missed.”
MARTY RAAB, who did the marketing for AMERICAN TOP 40 With CASEY KASEM at AMFM and is currently SVP/Marketing, Digital, Events and Communications at REACH MEDIA noted:, “Dedicating TODAY to CASEY KASEM! It was a career highlight for me and many of my counterparts at AMFM to work with such a class individual. When we re-launched AMERICAN TOP 40 in 1998, I remember CASEY recording the first show back, and taking time into the evening production to show his daughter KERRI KASEM some broadcast techniques that would ultimately benefit her career.” RAAB continued, “He never turned down anyone when they approached him to talk about the show or a long-distance dedication they remembered. As a fellow Detroiter, we were both able to talk about his experiences at WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY and love of the DETROIT TIGERS. He said his first choice for a career would've been the play for the Tigers … He loved the fact that he went to the first night game that the DETROIT TIGERS played in 1948.”
SAGA COMMUNICATIONS EVP STEVE GOLDSTEIN told ALL ACCESS, "There are precious few radio personalities in any era who become national celebrities. In the golden age of Top 40, there was the famous local personality on the big AM radio station but only one true national personality - CASEY."
Added syndicated air personality JOHN TESH: "CASEY KASEM had a profound effect on millions of us listeners ... But my family can attest that CASEY developed a personal connection with me, and our radio show staff, and for that matter all of our radio station affiliates around the world.
"You see, 12 years ago CASEY went on vacation and asked if I would fill in for his countdown show while he was away. I, of course, said yes. Imagine the opportunity! Well, to make a very long story short, I got 'bit hard' by the radio bug and knew that, after that substitute hosting experience, I wanted to launch my own radio program. And so it’s easy to say that CASEY was a huge part of launching Intelligence For Your Life. It was CASEY KASEM who taught all of us in the world of broadcasting that it was indeed possible to use the radio to develop deep relationships with other people.
"We love you …we miss you, CASEY KASEM."
KASEM, born APRIL 27th, 1932 in DETROIT, MI. to LEBANESE DRUZE parents, had a given first name of KEMAL. KASEM attended WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY in DETROIT.
Drafted into the US Army in 1952, KASEM was a DJ for the ARMED FORCES RADIO NETWORK while serving in KOREA. There were stops in CLEVELAND, BUFFALO and LOS ANGELES before his fame would grow exponentially. On JULY 4th, 1970, AMERICAN TOP 40 was born. KASEM would later say that first show took 18 hours to record and had only seven affiliates.
He hosted the weekly countdown until 1988, and again from 1998 to 2004, when RYAN SEACREST succeeded him.
On his last broadcast of AMERICAN TOP 20, one of two AC spinoffs he hosted until 2009, KASEM reflected on the beginnings of AT40, saying "DON [BUSTANY, longtime business partner] and I believed, and so did a growing number of listeners."
The countdown featured the popular segment "Long Distance Dedication." But KASEM said it wasn't part of the show until 1978 when a staffer found the letter in the mail. Over the years, more than 3,000 dedications were read on the show. At the height of his popularity -- the 1980s -- KASEM took a version of his syndicated radio countdown to TV. He used the burgeoning music video craze on AMERICA'S TOP 10.
His signature line was "Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars."
KASEM's voice wasn't only familiar for spinning records. He was an accomplished voice-over artist. KASEM was heard on numerous commercials and on the NBC-TV promos in the 1980s. But he was predominantly known as the voice of SHAGGY on the SCOOBY-DOO cartoons, a role he maintained for 40 years.
In 1985, KASEM was inducted into the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BROADCASTERS HALL OF FAME.
He is survived by a second wife, actress JEAN KASEM, a daughter, LIBERTY, and three children, MIKE, JULIE, and KERRI from his first marriage. KASEM's final months were marred by legal disputes between family members.
In his goodbye to radio fans in 2009, KASEM said, "Success doesn't happen in a vacuum. You're only as good as the people you work with and the people you work for. I've been lucky, I've worked for and with the very best."
We also invite you to leave your comments about CASEY below.
The NEW YORK TIMES has a short video of CASEY's early days here:
And, here is the audio of CASEY's KASEM's Final American Top 20 broadcast
American Top 40 Will Honor Casey Kasem With On-Air, Online Tribute Next Weekend
With worldwide mourning over the loss of CASEY KASEM, AMERICAN TOP 40 WITH RYAN SEACREST honors the program's creator with a special on-air and online tribute.
Next weekend, JUNE 21 and 22, the internationally syndicated program will be dedicated to the "King Of Countdowns," featuring major moments from KASEM's nearly 40 years behind the AT40 mic. From the first time he introduced music superstars MICHAEL JACKSON and BRITNEY SPEARS, to the first No.1 he ever introduced - "Mama Told Me Not to Come" by Three Dog Night, listeners will be treated to KASEM's signature long-distance dedications and stories behind the songs and artists that made AT40 one of the most popular syndicated radio shows around the world.
A special tribute has been launched on www.AT40.com where fans can hear classic AT40 highlights featuring KASEM and view photos of the Radio Hall Of Famer throughout his career. Fans are also encouraged to visit the site and share their favorite AT40 memories, as well as personal messages about KASEM. In addition, iHEARTRADIO is saluting the career of KASEM by featuring a collection of his most memorable AT40 countdowns from the '70s and '80s. To listen to the 24/7 tribute, please click here.
Current AT40 host RYAN SEACREST noted, "It's a sad day for the broadcasting community and for radio listeners around the world," said RYAN SEACREST. "When I was a kid, I would listen to CASEY KASEM's AT40 show every weekend, and dream about someday becoming a radio DJ. So when decades later I took over his AT40 countdown show, it was a surreal moment. CASEY had a distinctive friendly on-air voice, and he was just as affable and nice if you had the privilege to be in his company. He'll be greatly missed by all of us."