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Kasem Remembered as “Mr. Radio”

AT40 tributes planned next weekend

Tributes are coming in for “American Top 40” founding host Casey Kasem, who died over the weekend at age 82.

ABC News has a compilation of quotes about the power of music from Kasem, known by many as “Mr. Radio.”

Kasem joined SAG in 1966 and AFTRA in 1979, according to the now joined union. SAG-AFTRA remembers the tremendous Casey Kasem, a DJ and television personality whose distinctive style and influential “American Top 40” program changed broadcasting.

SAG-AFTRA President Ken Howard said the DJ had a “profound” influence on the music business. “For many, the multitalented Casey Kasem was the voice of popular music, and his long-running countdown program brought exposure for many of his fellow union members. My deepest sympathy to his family and friends, and may we all remember him best by ‘reaching for the stars,’” he said.

Long-time DJ Tom Joyner and syndicator Reach Media had what they say were great relationships with Kasem. Joyner said of Kasem: “He was world class, knew the power of radio, and will truly be missed.”

Many members of the Reach Media staff worked with bringing Kasem back to prominence in 1998 when they launched “American Top 40” with Casey Kasem and AMFM Radio Networks. Marty Raab, who did the marketing for “American Top 40 With Casey Kasem” at AMFM and is currently senior vice president of Marketing, Digital, Events and Communications Reach Media Inc. noted: “When we relaunched ‘American Top 40’ in 1998, I remember Casey recording the first show back, and taking time into the evening production to show his daughter Kerri Kasem some broadcast techniques that would ultimately benefit her career.”

Raab continued, “He never turned down anyone when they approached him to talk about the show or a long-distance dedication they remembered. As a fellow Detroiter, we were both able to talk about his experiences at Wayne State University and love of the Detroit Tigers. He said his first choice for a career would’ve been the play for the Tigers … He loved the fact that he went to the first night game that the Detroit Tigers played in 1948.”

Now titled “American Top 40 with Ryan Seacrest,” the current program syndicated by Premiere Networks will honor Kasem with a special on-air and online tribute next weekend, June 21 and 22. The program will be dedicated to the “King of Countdowns,” featuring major moments from Kasem’s nearly 40 years behind the AT40 mic.

A special tribute has been launched on where fans can hear classic AT40 highlights featuring Kasem and view photos of the Radio Hall of Famer throughout his career.

 In addition, Clear Channel’s digital iHeartRadio service is saluting Kasem’s career by featuring a collection of his most memorable AT40 countdowns from the ’70s and ’80s. To listen to that 24/7 tribute go here.

Seacrest said when he was a child, he listened to Kasem’s show every weekend, and dreamed about someday becoming a radio DJ. “So when decades later I took over his AT40 countdown show, it was a surreal moment. Casey had a distinctive friendly on-air voice, and he was just as affable and nice if you had the privilege to be in his company. He’ll be greatly missed by all of us.”