Casey Kasem and American Top 40

Vale DJ Casey Kasem
 Graham McDonald
American Top 40 label. NFSA title: 737181

While the Australian music industry mourns the passing of both Doc Neeson and Jim Keays in the past week, the weekend also saw the death, at age 82, of American DJ Casey Kasem.

Kasem was the perennial host of the syndicated weekly American Top 40 radio program, which as the name suggests, played the top forty pop songs in the US each week. Kasem conceived the idea in 1970 and by the later part of that decade was played on close to 1,000 stations across the US and continues to be produced.

The program was also a fixture on commercial radio stations all over the world, Australia included. The programs would arrive at the stations as three or four LPs in a box. The first disc had a 1Khz line up tone so the radio station technical operators could set the output level; the rest were carefully labelled and numbered so they could be played in the correct sequence. There was a track break approximately every 10 minutes so the local broadcaster could stop the disc and insert local advertisements.

The NFSA has ended up with a number of these programs which have come in as part of larger donations from radio stations around the country, and we have included a few in the collection as representative examples of this long-running and influential radio program.

Excerpt from a 1981 program. Casey Kasem 1981. NFSA title: 737181