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Broadcasting Baron: Casey Kasem 1932-2014

The icomparable Casey Kasem
The icomparable Casey Kasem

Radio personality, humanitarian, political activist, disc jockey, actor, and voiceover artist, are just a mere six word to describe the pioneering Kemal “Casey” Kasem. Known for his friendly and distinctive voice, The Detroit born Lebanese broadcasting icon was a member of the National Radio Hall of Fame and the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame. He served as a disc jockey and radio announcer while serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, and he began his professional radio career in the 1950s. Surrounded by family and friends, the iconic broadcaster departed this life on June 15, 2014 from complications from sepsis, dementia and Parkinson's disease. He was 82.

Kasem began his television career hosting Shebang, a dance show aired weekday afternoons on Los Angeles television station KTLA in the mid to late 1960s. His first work as a voice actor was as the voice Robin in the 1968 Batman cartoons. Kasem went on to become a prominent voice actor, with his best known role was the voice of Shaggy in the Scooby-Doo franchise, beginning with the first series, Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! In 1969.

Kasem founded the American Top 40 franchise in 1970, along with Don Bustany, Tom Rounds and Ron Jacobs, in which he introduced and then played the country's top-selling singles, offering information about the songs and performers and the occasional "long-distance dedication" from a fan. He hosted it from 1970 to 1988 and from 1998 to 2004, succeeded by Ryan Seacrest.

A spin-off of his popular radio show was the syndicated television series America's Top 10, which Kasem hosted through the 1980s. The show recapped the top 10 songs on various music charts, including rock, pop country and soul. Kasem brought elements of the his popular radio show to television, including answering questions with sometimes obscure facts about musical acts.

Rest peacefully Mr. Kasem. May you eternally "Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars."