A memorial service is slated for this upcoming Sunday in Los Angeles for Tom Rounds, the first “American Top 40” producer, who died this week just shy of what would have been his 78th birthday.
Rounds died from complications related to a “minor” surgical procedure, according to the announcement.
He was founder and chief executive officer of Radio Express, which syndicated American radio programming outside the U.S.
In 1970, with Casey Kasem and Don Bustany, Rounds headed the team that launched and marketed “American Top 40 with Casey Kasem.” The program had 500 U.S. affiliates by the late ’80s.
Rounds had also founded a different syndicator, Watermark, in the late 1960s.
After ABC acquired Watermark in 1982, Rounds started Radio Express in 1985 with ABC as its first program supplier. In 1990, Rounds announced the introduction of “American Top 40” syndicated programming into the Soviet Union, adding that country to the list of 70 countries outside the U.S. where the program was heard.
Rounds began working in radio in the late 1950s when he managed college station WAMH(AM), Amherst, Mass. He started his professional radio career at WINS(AM), New York, N.Y., and then moved to KPOI(AM), Honolulu, Hawaii, as program director and afternoon on-air jock. In 1966, Rounds became program director of KFRC(AM), San Francisco, and began promoting concerts.
A memorial service is scheduled for June 8 at 5 p.m. at Forest Lawn — Hollywood Hills. Memorial donations may be made to City of Hope Cancer Center.