Monday, June 16, 2014

Casey Kasem Remembered

Today's biggest radio hosts are mourning Casey Kasem after learning the 82-year-old legend has died.

Ryan Seacrest, who took over Kasem's American Top 40 show in 2004, paid tribute to his idol in a statement, according to People magazine.
"It's a sad day for the broadcasting community and for radio listeners around the world," said Seacrest, 39. "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." 
Kasem hosted the nationally syndicated show for 24 years.

Casey Kasem, a radio star whose smooth voice encouraged millions of listeners to "keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars," died Sunday in a hospital outside Tacoma, Wash. He was 82.

What others are saying about Casey Kasem:
  • "Casey really was the most famous national disc jockey. He ushered in the concept that you can have a national personality on a radio station," said Bob Pittman, chief executive of Clear Channel Communications, Inc., the parent company of Premiere Networks, which distributes "American Top 40." "He made pop fun again. He made the top 40 cool at a time it was not so cool to be top 40," Mr. Pittman said.
  • Rick Dees, who launched his own rival countdown show, says he “enjoyed sharing the same space on the radio” with Kasem. “Our friendly competition lead to years of friendship and respect,” Dees says. “We will all miss his style, his voice, and his ability to communicate.”
  • Scott Shannon, WCBS 101.1 FM in New York City, once hosted his own top 30 nationally syndicated radio countdown, for Westwood One. “I have always felt there were two great radio personalities who were able to captivate their audiences with content and stories: Paul Harvey and Casey Kasem and now sadly both are gone,” Shannon told Billboard. “Casey’s voice cut through the radio ga-ga like a sharp knife, and no one told rock and roll stories quite like he did. Even today, when I hear reruns of his show from years ago, I still find myself fully engaged and still amazed with his style and ability to communicate with his listeners.”
  •  "He didn't sound like anyone else on the air. He really kind of broke all the rules of radio and it worked beautifully," said Jarl Mohn, a former disc jockey, and the chief executive of NPR.
  • Steve West of "It is extremely difficult to find words to describe the effect which Casey Casem had upon my life, and the lives of thousands of broadcasters and millions of listeners around America, and the world. There have been only a handful of people who touched people’s lives in a way that Casey Casem did. Among them, Dick Clark, and to a lesser extent, Robert W. Morgan, Larry Lujack and, still living, Dan Ingram."
  • "Casey Kasem was a shared experience, back when national radio was rare and an upgrade over what it replaced," recalls longtime Billboard contributor Sean Ross.
  • Gary Trust of Billboard, "Casey will probably be remembered for his imprint on radio as Johnny Carson is in the realm of late-night TV. Both were the main entertainment choices when there was little competition, so they're who we remember so fondly. Of course, had there been other options, it's doubtful how much they would've been challenged. Their longevity wasn't an accident, and you don't become an icon simply for showing up. Kasem gave a gift of communicating genuinely and unhurriedly, traits that seem increasingly endearing and valuable in an era of largely disposable social media messages."

CBS Radio News Correspondent Peter King recalls Kasem and AT40:  Click Here.

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