American DJ Casey Kasem's American Top 40 was a fixture on commercial radio stations all over the world, including in Australia.
American DJ Kemal Amin 'Casey' Kasem (1932–2014) was the long-running host (from 1970–88 and 1998–2004) of the syndicated weekly American Top 40 radio program, which as the name suggests, played the Top 40 pop songs in the US each week.
Kasem conceived the idea in 1970 and by the later part of that decade, it was played on close to 1,000 stations across the US. As of writing (in 2023), the show continues to be produced.
American Top 40 was also a fixture on commercial radio stations all over the world, Australia included.
The programs arrived at radio 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 holds a number of American Top 40 programs in our collection. They have mostly come in as part of larger donations from radio stations around the country, but we have included a few in the collection as representative examples of this long-running and influential radio program.
Listen to the opening of the 10 January 1981 edition of American Top 40:
No. 1 on 10 January 1981? John Lennon's '(Just Like) Starting Over', which was a huge hit in the wake of his death in January 1980.
This article was first published in 2014. The text was updated in 2023.
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