Remembering The King Of The Countdown

By Molly Daly

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Broadcaster and voiceover artist Casey Kasem died Sunday morning (see related story). He was 82.

Although he spent his final months caught in a tug-of-war between his wife and his children from his first marriage, Kasem will be remembered as the host of his long-running “American Top 40” countdown.

Although Kasem didn’t invent the hit parade countdown, he did perfect it. Tom Taylor is a journalist who covers the radio business.

“In a way he follows what we’re used to hearing from Dick Clark,” Taylor tells KYW Newsradio. “He was a mainstream guy, played the hits, was always on top of things, and was the friendliest guy in the world. This is the guy you wanted as a neighbor down the block. That was Casey.”

Taylor says Kasem spiced the countdown with stories about the artists and the hits:

“Casey always kept you waiting, and he was terrific at setting up what’s next.”

By the end of the show, he left you enlightened, and with his signature signoff, uplifted.

“Till then, keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars,” Kasem would say.

Radio business icon Kal Rudman says Kasem’s sound was one of the keys to his success:

“His voice was absolutely the epitome of friendliness and warmth.”

“What a great thing to look forward to every weekend,” adds Taylor. “It’s somebody to tell you that you can do even better, that things are okay in the world, that you can survive and thrive, that’s a pretty great American lesson.”

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