the name Casey Kasem, and music lovers from around the world will
think of radio's biggest countdown show. In fact, Casey is the man
that set the standard for all countdown shows, with his weekly
Top 40 with Casey Kasem
now on Premiere Radio Networks. Casey's reach is broad, extending to
millions of listeners on his radio line-up that also includes American
Top 20 with Casey Kasem
in two different versions (Adult Contemporary and Hot Adult
Contemporary), along with a weekday feature, America's
Top Hits with Casey Kasem.
From counting down the hits to offering listeners long
distance-dedications, Casey's style and approach are summed up in his
trademark phrase: "Keep your feet on the ground and keep
reaching for the stars." The man who once dreamed of being a
baseball player, but ended up as a radio sports announcer in high
school, has since become the youngest member ever inducted into the
Radio Hall of Fame. He has his own star on Hollywood Boulevard's Walk
of Fame. And in 1997, Billboard
Magazine presented him with its first-ever Lifetime Achievement
Award. Clearly, Casey's friendly 'crackling' voice has taken him to
the top of his profession.
Over the years,
Casey has also worked as a character actor in films and TV shows, as
well as countless voice-over commercials and Saturday morning cartoon
shows like the long running "Scooby Doo." He has three
children by a former marriage, Kerri, Michael and Julie. His wife,
Jean, appeared as Loretta in NBC-TV's hit series "Cheers"
and co-starred in its spin-off, "The Tortellis." Casey and
Jean have a 7-year old daughter, Liberty.
Back in Detroit,
while majoring in speech education at Wayne State University, young
Kemal Amen Kasem landed acting roles in national radio shows like
"The Lone Ranger" and "Sergeant Preston of the
Yukon." During military service in Korea, he coordinated and
acted in radio drama on the Armed Forces Network. A civilian again in
1954, Casey soon became a disc jockey, work that took him from
Detroit to Cleveland, Buffalo, Oakland and eventually Los Angeles.
In Oakland, his
station manager told Casey to change his format, dropping improvised, wild-track
comedy characters. That same evening, minutes before his next show,
still stuck for an idea, Casey found a discarded magazine Who's
Who in Pop Music, 1962
in a trash barrel at the studio. It was full of facts about
recording artists. So, he began telling stories about the lives of
popular musicians, "teasing" them a few minutes beforehand.
This "teaser/bio" format was to become a standard in the
radio industry and a familiar part of American
which originally debuted on July 4, 1970.
Besides being one
of the busiest performers, Casey is also involved in many social and
humanitarian causesvegetarianism, anti-smoking campaigns,
anti-discrimination projects, etc.for which he has received
numerous honors. Since 1981, he has also participated in Jerry Lewis'
annual Labor Day Telethon for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
Casey leads a full
and active life. His message to each individual is to believe that
"I can make a difference"then get involved. And he
sets the example himself.
Most recently he
attended and co-emceed a wedding reception in Twin Falls Idaho for
his daughter's teacher with Sid Vanderpool, DJzone's Editor. Casey
gave the Grand Entrance and Toast new twist with his very memorable voice.
DJzone had a
chance to sit with Casey and ask the one question that every DJ has
wanted to know, What's up with the little dog story. Casey explained
back during a period in the 80s there was a time is was hard to find
a good slow song due to the domination of rock on the charts
and he had told his writers not to schedule a rock song before or
after his dedications. It might ahve been a ruse and it might have
been just poor writing but they had scheduled rock on both counts for
his dedication to a little dog that passed away called Fluffy. After
a hard day of taping he just blew up and ran through ever explative
he could think of. With NBC he had a stated clearly in his contract
that any and all outtakes would be destroyed. Well on this day a temp
was operating the board and as Casey put it he more than likely just
walked out with the little dog clips.
Now a regular
stunt used by the likes of Stern, Casey would like people to let
sleeping (dead) dogs lie and just loose the clip. "I am always
embarrassed when I hear that clip. It was something that was never
meant for the public to hear. I was just having a bad day."
Although Casey could have pressed letigation against NBC over the
outtake he never did. "I could have gotten millions for it. It
was just something I did not want to do."