The music and radio industries are in mourning today as news spreads that Casey Kasem, one of the most recognizable voices in radio history, passed away early Sunday morning (June 15) at a hospital in Washington state. He was 82.
A statement written by Kasem’s children and released by his representative, Danny Deraney, on Sunday read, “Early this Father’s Day morning, our dad Casey Kasem passed away surrounded by family and friends. Even though we know he is in a better place and no longer suffering, we are heartbroken … The world will miss Casey Kasem, an incredible talent and humanitarian; we will miss our Dad.”
The iconic DJ was already a popular Los Angeles-based radio personality when he became host of “American Top 40” in 1970, a show which became a mainstay of thousands of radio stations world-wide as music lovers everywhere tuned in to find out where their favorite artists placed each week.
The show’s success, however, and that of successor programs such as “American Top 20” and “Casey’s Top 40,” hinged on more than a simple numeric countdown. His biographical spotlights shed light on the personal lives of our favorite artists, giving us the chance to feel as if we knew them just a little bit better. His emotional “Dear Casey” and “long-distance dedication” segments made the show a lot more personal than any other syndicated radio shows of the era.
On a personal note, Casey was a big part of my childhood. I’ll never forget listening to the show each week with a cassette tape ready and my finger primed to record my favorite songs (a joy/frustration this generation of kids will never know). I consider his death a personal loss and my condolences, along with those of everyone here at Karaoke Cloud/DigiTrax Entertainment, go out to Casey’s family. “Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.”