Greg Michaels’ Thoughts on the Passing of Casey Kasem [Vintage Audio]
By now, you’ve heard that radio legend and voice-over talent Casey Kasem passed away. What did Casey Kasem mean to you? Here is what he meant to me.
As a kid, pop or better put Adult Contemporary radio, where I lived was heavily day-parted. That meant that during the day, the songs were lighter and more workplace friendly and then at night, the music was a bit heavier. Back in the early 80s, there was no YouTube and there was no on-demand. We just had radio! Even music videos were limited on TV. What I’m saying, simply put, is teen-driven pop hits were not as accessible then as they are today.
Every weekend, the local station would air, ‘American Top 40 with Casey Kasem’ and later in the 80s, ‘Casey’s Top 40.’ It was four hours of just the hits. There were no songs of yesteryear (except in the case of a long distance dedication.)
As more or less an adult running Casey Kasem’s final years of ‘Casey’s Top 40,’ I had a fun time every Sunday morning.
I remember always laughing when Casey Kasem introduced or talked out of Meredeth Brooks, because hearing Casey Kasem have to say the word “Bitch” at the time, to me, was hilarious! I also remember getting excited when in the show, Kasem would mention 92 Moose as one of the affiliates. I’d also run the applause sound effect when he mentioned 92 Moose. Thankfully, I was never caught, or if I was, nothing was ever said.
Mostly, I remember the sincerity in Casey Kasem’s voice when doing the countdown. I have an aircheck of him doing radio in San Francisco back in the early 60s when he was zany and out of the box with sound effect drops and he called his listeners, “finger popping daddies!”
Here is that early aircheck:
Even in his most famous outtake regarding doing a dedication about the death of a dog, when he gets angry about having to come out of a fast song, he was upset because he wanted it done right. Dealing with the death of a close family member, friend or pet is devastating, and as much as we all laughed at that out-take, because it was so out of character for Kasem, it really is a testament to how much he cared about the show and his listeners.
Case Kasem was one of a kind. He was an inspiration to many air talent on the air today and a staple in American broadcasting and he lived the American dream, in the traditional sense. You will be missed!