Saturday morning radio here in the UK has taken a turn for the better in my humble opinion, especially if you are bordering on “old codgery” like me.
The recently launched Smooth70s DAB radio station (also available on the internet and more than likely on Digital TV platforms – I haven’t checked as yet) has started playing editions of Casey Kasem’s “American Top 40” radio show, which has been syndicated across the world ever since 1970 (there have been a few different hosts across the years).
Now my British readers may well be asking Casey – who? (our friends across the pond will probably be amazed that us “backward limeys” are totally unaware as to his identity). A good comparison is that he could be classed as the US equivalent of the late Alan “Fluff” Freeman, who hosted the UK’s “”Pick of the Pops” for more years than I care to remember.
American radio personality Kasem, (also known for voicing the character of Shaggy in the Scooby-Doo cartoons), has done voice-overs on many TV commercials over the years along with putting the voices to many of the Sesame Street favourites.
Casey (born Kemal Amin Kasem) is of Lebanese-Druze heritage and is still actively working in the broadcasting industry at the age of 79. In 1985, he was inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame radio division and is well known for his signature sign-off: "Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars."
AT40 is aired on Smooth70s every Saturday morning between 9 and 12 and is repeated on the following day (Sunday evening) between 9 and midnight.
This week edition (first broadcast in 1973), included such varied content that ranged from the sublime of Marvin Gaye’s “Trouble Man”, to the slightly dodgy “Photograph” by Ringo Starr, ending up with the truly appalling “Do You Wanna Dance?” by Bette Midler. No1 that week was Elton John’s “Crocodile Rock”. The show certainly brings back memories, good and bad!
So if you were a child of the 70’s or are just interested in hearing the originals of many cover versions of later years, please give it a listen. You’ll love it!