Commemorating Casey Kasem


Casey Kasem
Radio personality and voice actor Casey Kasem passed away on Father’s Day, June 15th, at the age of 82 in Gig Harbor, Washington. Known for hosting many countdown music shows on radio and television, including “American Top 40” and “American Top 10,” Kasem also served as the voice for “Scooby-Doo” slacker Shaggy Rogers for approximately 40 years.

After becoming diagnosed with Lewy body dementia in the mid-2000s, Kasem was eventually placed on end-of-life measures at a hospital by his daughter Kerri at the beginning of June 2014.

The disc jockey began his career during the Korean War as an announcer on the Armed Forces Radio Korea Network in the U.S. Army.

When he returned home, Kasem worked at several radio stations across the country before starting the weekly “American Top 40” show in July 1970 out of California as a way to provide listeners with the most popular songs in the nation.

“I really don't think it's that I have a God-given voice that's so special. I just found a showcase that made good use of my particular voice. It's all storytelling,” the icon said in a 1990 New York Times profile.

Kasem regularly provided rare anecdotes and facts about musicians, and he credited a copy of “Who’s Who in Pop Music” that he found in a trash can for inspiring the bits of trivia he so often shared on the air waves. He ended every show with his sign-off “keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.”

For his efforts, the DJ was recognized with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, as well as inductions into the National Radio Hall of Fame and the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

In addition to “Scooby-Doo,” Kasem lent his vocal talents to numerous other animated series, including “Super Friends,” “The Transformers” and “Josie and the Pussycats.” 

Ryan Seacrest, who succeeded Kasem as the host of “American Top 40” in 2004, reflected upon Kasem’s passing:

“When I was a kid, I would listen to Casey Kasem’s AT40 show every weekend, and dream about someday becoming a radio DJ ... 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.”

Even though Kasem retired from radio permanently in 2009, fans who wish to reminisce and listen to his previous shows can tune in by downloading the free iHeartRadio mobile app, and selecting the “Classic American Top 40” station which offers former broadcasts from the 1970s and 1980s.

“It's still interesting to me that I came up with an old idea and even language that was archaic,” said Kasem, “but I believed the idea of the countdown and the appeal of the stories would never die.”

Here’s what fellow industry professionals, musicians and performers had to say in remembrance:

Author: Brian Cameron


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