DETROIT (CBS DETROIT) – Casey Kasem, the legendary American Top 40 host has died at the age of 82.

Kasem a Detroit native went to Northwestern High School, and then went on to Wayne State University.

Born, Kemal Amin Kasem, Kasem had one of the most distinct and recognized voices in broadcasting.

“American Top 40” began on July 4th 1970 and continued in various forms until his retirement in 2009.

The vice president of industry relations for The Specs Howard School of Media Arts in Southfield, Dick Kernen spoke to CBS Detroit about Kasem’s influence.

“It’s not unheard of … I would think another guy that would be in the same league would be Paul Harvey.”

Art Vuolo is a local radio enthusiast and knew Kasem for 30 years:

“He was just the nicest guy,” said Vuolo. “I wish our industry, today, had people that nice in it – the world would be a better place.”

Vuolo said they met in California when Kasem was a booth-announcer.

Vuolo says he reached out to Kasem 30 years ago as a fan, and says Kasem ended up calling him, and that’s how the two became friends.

“He called me up and said, ‘this is Casey Kasem’ and I said ‘yeah sure’ and I almost hung up on him because so many people do imitations of him.”

Kasem’s legacy reached well beyond music as he was heard as the voice of Shaggy in Scooby-Doo cartoons and in many commercials.

The shows he hosted were known for highlighting up-and-coming artists as well as a schmaltzy “Long Distance Dedication” usually with a caller suggesting a song in memory of a lost or distant love.

He ended each broadcast with the line every imitator would do when performing a Kasem impersonation — “Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.”

In recent years, Kasem was trapped in a feud between his three adult children and his second wife over his health care.

His eldest children, Kerri, Mike and Julie, issued the following statement: “Early this Father’s Day morning, our dad Casey Kasem passed away surrounded by family and friends. Even though we know he is in a better place and no longer suffering, we are heartbroken. Thank you for all your love, support and prayers. The world will miss Casey Kasem, an incredible talent and humanitarian; we will miss our Dad.”


TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS Los Angeles contributed to this report.


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