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.”