Sunday, June 15, 2014
You Have Reached the Stars, Good Night Kasey Kasem
Growing up in the mountains of Western North Carolina, we had AM radio. The signal wasn't very strong, the sound was not very clear. However, radio was everything in our world. We had to buy records, vinyl LPs in analog sound. We could only listen to them at home. If you were dying to hear your favorite song while on the road, you had to wait until it came on the radio. When cassettes came out, I would buy the LP and record it on a tape. If you were anybody, you either bought a car with a cassette player or did all you could to get the money together to have one installed by Radio Shack or some automotive service station. At night, the signals were stronger. I remember listening to WLS, a radio station out of Chicago many nights. I had a large. boxy radio called a World Monitor. It would pick up stations from far away if the weather was clear. Saturday was special. Not only were there really excellent cartoons on television, but the Top 40 Countdown with Kasey Kasem was on. All of the best songs were played with a story or interesting fact about the artists and bands. It was like an all day dance party. Kasem's voice was well modulated and easy to listen to as the songs rolled on. His voice narrated the soundtrack of my life as his career spanned most of my younger years. These days, radio has taken a backseat to the internet. If I want to hear a favorite song, I can get it on YouTube. It is instant gratification, but without the personalities that added so much to music appreciation. If I want to know something about an artist or a band, I can look it up online. It has become very generic. Locally, we have some great radio stations with DJs who get us going in the morning and drive us home at night, but radio has lost much of its former glory. Now that Kasey Kasem has gone to his rest with his fellows like Dick Clark, et al, radio is just a little more diminished. That is a shame. It was a fine companion to everything we did. Rest in peace, Kasey Kasem. We will remember you as we, "keep our feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars."