Sunday, July 5, 2009

casey kasem final countdown

No, Casey Kasem is not dead.

It’s the final countdown—again—for Casey Kasem. The radio legend will wind up his “American Top 40” spin-off programs, “American Top 20” and “American Top 10,” on July 4— a date of significance: He created the franchise on July 4, 1970.

“Hosting various versions of my countdown program has kept me extremely busy, and I loved every minute of it,” Kasem, 77, said in a statement. “However, this decision will free up time I need to focus on myriad other projects.”

The “King of the Countdowns’ ” departure from the adult contemporary-oriented franchise is nothing new. After contractual concerns in 1988 with the show’s owner, ABC Watermark, Casey left “AT40.” But ownership reverted back to Casey and he returned in 1998 to host the revived version. He stepped down as host in 2004 and handed the duties over to Ryan Seacrest.

He was the voice that personified American music pop culture through much of the 70s and 80s. His weekly departing line, “Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars” resonates to this day for anybody in my generation. That avuncular voice, which lives on as Shaggy in Scooby Doo cartoons, is often imitated and still heard on Sirius XM satellite radio’s 70s and 80s stations, where they replay his countdown shows.

Sure, he was cheeseball in so many ways. His long distance dedications. The way he would say a famous person’s quote, then actually end it by saying, “end of quote.” Those trivia contests where you had to send in your answers — by postcard.

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