|Casey Kasem's Biography...|
Mention the name Casey Kasem, and music lovers from around the world will think of radio's biggest countdown show. In fact, Casey is the man that set the standard for all countdown shows, with his weekly program American Top 40.
Casey's reach is broad, extending to millions of listeners. From counting down the hits to offering listeners long-distance dedications, Casey's style and approach are summed up in his trademark phrase: "Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars." The man who once dreamed of being a baseball player, but ended up as a radio sports announcer in high school, has since become the youngest member ever inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame. He has his own star on Hollywood Boulevard's Walk of Fame. And in 1997, Billboard Magazine presented him with its first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award. Clearly, Casey's friendly 'crackling' voice has taken him to the top of his profession.
Over the years, Casey has also worked as a character actor in films and TV shows, as well as countless voice-over commercials and Saturday morning cartoon shows like the long running "Scooby Doo." He has three children by a former marriage, Kerri, Michael and Julie. His wife, Jean, appeared as Loretta in NBC-TV's hit series "Cheers" and co-starred in its spin-off, "The Tortellis." Casey and Jean have a daughter named Liberty.
Back in Detroit, while majoring in speech education at Wayne State University, young Kemal Amen Kasem landed acting roles in national radio shows like "The Lone Ranger" and "Sergeant Preston of the Yukon." During military service in Korea, he coordinated and acted in radio drama on the Armed Forces Network. A civilian again in 1954, Casey soon became a disc jockey, work that took him from Detroit to Cleveland, Buffalo, Oakland and eventually Los Angeles.
In Oakland, his station manager told Casey to change his format, dropping improvised, wild-track comedy characters. That same evening, minutes before his next show, still stuck for an idea, Casey found a discarded magazine – Who's Who in Pop Music, 1962 – in a trash barrel at the studio. It was full of facts about recording artists. So, he began telling stories about the lives of popular musicians, "teasing" them a few minutes beforehand. This "teaser/bio" format was to become a standard in the radio industry and a familiar part of American Top 40, which originally debuted on July 4, 1970.
Besides being one of the busiest performers, Casey is also involved in many social and humanitarian causes—vegetarianism, anti-smoking campaigns, anti-discrimination projects, etc.—for which he has received numerous honors. Since 1981, he has also participated in Jerry Lewis' annual Labor Day Telethon for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
Casey leads a full and active life. His message to each individual is to believe that "I can make a difference"—then get involved. And he sets the example himself.