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Arts & Life

Detroit native Casey Kasem, broadcasting legend dies

Credit Wikimedia

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Casey Kasem, the smooth-voiced radio broadcaster who became the king of the top 40 countdown, has died at age 82.

Danny Deraney, publicist for Kasem's daughter, Kerri, says Kasem died Sunday morning.

Kasem's "American Top 40" began on July 4, 1970, in Los Angeles. The No. 1 song on his list then was "Mama Told Me Not to Come," by Three Dog Night.

The show continued in varying forms - and for varying syndicators - until his retirement in 2009. In his signoff, he would tell viewers: "And don't forget: keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars."

Kasem was born Kemal Amin Kasem in Detroit in 1932 to Lebanese immigrants.  

He graduated from Detroit’s Northwestern High School and Wayne State University.  

Kasem started his long broadcasting career in Flint in the 1950's.

Detroiters are recalling the Motor City roots of Casey Kasem, the homegrown broadcast personality who went on to create the long-enduring "American Top 40" radio show.

Veteran Detroit disc jockey Lee Alan was Cooley High School student when he listened to Kasem's nighttime radio show "Casey at the Mic" on WJBK-AM.

Alan tells The Detroit News  he later appropriated a phrase Kasem always used, "the cream of the crop till 12 o'clock."

Robin Seymour was on the air as Kasem's competitor on WKMH in the 1950's and describes his rival as "the nicest guy" and close to his family, but also "a real aggressive guy" who "really worked hard to get where he got."

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