Daily Archives: May 27, 2010

Happy Birthday, Casey Kasem!

Happy Birthday to one of the true Deans of Pop Radio, Casey Kasem. He’s 78, but ironically they don’t make those anymore.

Kasem is most famous for two long running radio programs, American Top Forty and America’s Top Ten. His vocal affectations and dramatic pauses quickly became a popular vocal caricature; imitators would exaggerate his style and cadence to make even the most mundane topic sound attention-getting.

Kasem’s show was punctuated by a plethora of gimmicks to personalize the listener experience, from Long Distance Dedications to short background stories about the record he was about to play. Radio jocks have always had “personalities”; that’s part of the trade. But unlike today’s climate of full and open access, Kasem flourished in an era when radio was just about a teenager’s sole salvation for music, and he was smart enough to talk to the listener as if it were a direct conversation.

If Wikipedia is to be believed, Kasem hasn’t granted a single interview since retiring from radio and television last July. That, my friends, is the definition of irony.

And if you don’t like pop music, I guess you can celebrate with an episode of Scooby Doo. Kasem, a prominent voice-over actor, was the voice of Shaggy in the cartoon. But whatever you do, “Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars.”

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