Before we get any deeper into 2015, there’s one item from 2014 I’d like to address: Casey Kasem.
Casey died in June 2014. His funeral, and many tributes to him, followed soon afterward, but his body was not buried until December 2014 in Norway. In all that time, Casey’s family argued how he should be treated, both before and after his death. The arguments continued over his final resting place, and after the burial there are still many unresolved issues. It’s certainly been a tumultuous end to one of radio’s premiere icons.
For me, Casey was a gateway to discovery, of both music and radio. As a youth in the early 1980s, the only media I was able to consume easily were print, radio, and television. Billboard magazine was not easy to get a hold of, as the subscription price was pretty high (I think it still is), so listening to American Top 40 was the next best thing. Casey’s stories and trivia were what I looked forward to most. I soon discovered that most of the songs I liked were most often at the beginning of the show (the lower/less popular end of the chart) rather than at the end. The show was on WNBC-AM radio at the time, which led me to the likes of Don Imus and Howard Stern. Shortly thereafter, Casey moved to WPLJ-FM, which opened up another avenue of discovery. I then shifted to the new music of WLIR and the rock icons of WNEW-FM. Then there were the laid back interviews of Rockline, and the crazy antics of Dr. Demento.
I’m still discovering new music now, but in a manner that’s similar to the way Chrissie Hynde describes it in this Q&A:
Are there other bands you’re listening to that you’re excited about? I listen to the radio, and I hear things. But it’s not like when I was 16, and I would call my friends and say, “You’ve got to hear this record I just got!” There isn’t a unified scene anymore. Everything I loved about music, it seems like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has destroyed.
While it’s true that times have changed, and the quest for discovery is different from I was young, the quest is still there. Thank you, Casey, for helping me get started on my quest.