The Final Countdown: Goodbye, Casey Kasem!

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kasemIn a surprising move for our media-driven age, there was an historic announcement made over the weekend with a profound absence of fuss and arm waving.

“We began the weekend of July 4, 1970, and after 39 years this will be our final countdown,” Casey Kasem said over the air this weekend while hosting his “American Top 20” radio show. Simple and direct. The end of an era that spans generations. The man who pioneered the countdown format on radio is setting aside his microphone.

The 77-year-old broadcaster is remembered by generations for his long distance dedications, the trivia and tidbits he would present about each artist, and surprising many as the voice of Shaggy on TV’s Scooby-Doo cartoons.

David Buchanan over at Consequence of Sound said it best:

He founded the Top 40 franchise. He’s presented the hits for decades. Millions of people know his voice, even if they can’t place the name. When it boils down to it, Casey Kasem is to radio what Johnny Carson was to late night — a warm and welcoming voice.

One of the last of the old guard announcers, Kasem has far outlasted his contemporaries like Wolfman Jack. Whether you follow Top 40 or not, you know his voice. Everyone does. If you had even a passing interest in pop music over the past several decades, then you new it intimately. ModernMom puts it succinctly:

Casey Kasem’s countdown is legendary. I listened to it as a kid, even as an adult, I’m sure you did, too. For 39 years he’s been counting down the top weekly hits.

Kasem has been serving up the hits since 1970. His voice and folksy humor are an integral part of the tapestry of popular culture in America. Dare I say iconic? Yes, I think I will.

Here is wishing the absolute best to Casey Kasem. May his retirement be blissful and may his life be long!

The countdown will never be the same.

Photo by Alan Light, used under its Creative Commons license

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