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NJ 101.5 Hosts Rermember Casey Kasem

The passing of radio legend Casey Kasem brought back memories for the New Jersey 101.5 hosts who all grew up listening to his “American Top 40″ countdown show.

Casey Kasem arrives at the premiere of Paramount’s “Rugrats in Paris – The Movie” in 2000 at Mann’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, CA. (Photo by Chris Weeks/Liaison)

Big Joe Henry: “What a sad day for the music industry – Casey was such a legend. His Top 40 Countdown was a benchmark for so many new or up-and-coming artists. His radio show was also a staple for all radio personalities. His delivery, connection with his listeners, and conviction for the music and radio industry was unmatched. We will all miss his voice and presence. As Casey would say ‘Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars…’”

Steve Trevelise: “I used to listen to Casey on Sunday mornings growing up. I loved the info he would give about the songs leading up to the vocal which he always hit. Without realizing what syndication was, I thought he should have been made full time.”

Ray Rossi: “Truly a broadcast legend, and a throwback to a time when the music jock interacted with not only the music he played, but his listeners. He will be missed.”

Don Tandler: On one hand, “AT40″ contributed to the nationalism of radio; took away from the regional tastes that helped make popular music interesting. I found that disturbing at the time. But I always found Casey’s style both distinctive & comforting. He was one of the last “friends” on top 40 radio. And listening to the shows now: well, wouldn’t it be wonderful to hear all the styles of music represented again at top 40 radio, the way they were on “American Top 40″? AND a DJ who appeals to all ages, like Casey. He takes the biggest move of the week, this week: all the way to the stars.

Amy Wright: “For generations weekends wouldn’t be weekends without AT40. Often copied. Never equaled.”

Chris “Double Down” Swendeman: “No matter what music genre you were a fan of, Casey Kassem was a household name. For those of us that got into the radio business, Casey Kassem was an iconic and inspirational figure that will never be replicated and will truly be missed.”

A signed promotional copy of the first American Top 40 program
A signed promotional copy of the first American Top 40 program (Craig Allen)

Craig Allen: I remember listening to Casey as a kid…catching the countdown on a Sunday morning or afternoon was a highlight of my week! It was appointment radio for this future radio geek! In the late 80s, the station I was working for (WPST) started airing AT-40. This was before the show came on CD, it was still pressed on vinyl, and I’d ask for the copies after we aired the show. In the mid 90′s my station in Philly (Star 104,5) ran “Casey’s Top 40,” and as a promo, Casey gave us a baby crib that his company made, and we gave it away to as happy listener. When Casey revived American Top 40 with what would become Clear Channel, my program director (and now Towwnsquare VP of Programming) Kurt Johnson gave signed promotional copies of that first AT-40 show to me and Big Ron. Casey’s shows taught me how to add excitement and drama to a simple talkup. Casey and American Top 40 is American Hit Radio. Everyone in our business owes Casey a debt of gratitude. And, this morning, Casey reached the stars. Thanks, Casey, may you rest in peace.

Bob Williams: “Casey was the first nationally syndicated radio voice and the king of the countdown. Back in the ’80s I did a weekly countdown show on my college radio station at MontclaIr State and i would try to emulate him. He was incredibly smooth and versatile. Definitely an inspiration. today is a sad day for our industry.”

Eric Johnson: “I went out of my way to tune in a distant station as a kid in the mid ’70s to listen to “Casey’s Coast To Coast” and would keep track of the countdown positions of the songs. Something about his voice was familiar. Later I learned it was Shaggy from Scooby Doo and other cartoon personalities that generations grew up with. The family feuding was truly tragic and I’m glad Casey has finally found peace. He’s finally reached the stars!”

 

 

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