Friday, December 5, 2003

Casey No Longer Countin' Them Down?
Don Barrett reports on that Ryan Seacrest is about to be named the new host of "American Top 40," replacing the legendary Casey Kasem.

You have no idea how much this pains me.

"AT40" was a huge part of my childhood. I so wanted to be Casey Kasem. His smooth delivery, his way with music trivia and the way he counted down "The Hits from Coast to Coast." Every week I'd wake up early and listen patiently to all four hours of "AT40," scribbling down the week's chart and typing it up afterwards for my records. (Did I mention that I was a geek?) If my family was heading out to lunch, I'd smuggle a small radio with me and sneak listens in between bites of food. And if I happened to miss what song was at No. 26 or No. 13, I'd call the radio station and ask them to help me fill in the gaps.

Casey was there all the way -- until 1988, that is, when he left "AT40" in a contract dispute and left. Shadoe Stevens took over, but it was never the same. And Top 40 radio started to change as well, making countdown shows a relic of a different era. (Casey regained ownership of "AT40" in the late 1990s and returned to his rightful throne.)

Thanks to my job, I had the chance to meet and have lunch with my childhood idol years later. I even have Casey's home number tucked away somewhere. And even though he's a little slower with age, he remains a true class act.

Now, I'm not delusional. I know Casey's gotta give up the mike at some point. But Ryan Seacrest?! The idea of the Star 98.7 afternoon guy/ "American Idol" host taking over my beloved "AT40" pains me to no end.

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