For someone endured adolescence with internet access and digital cable, I actually listened to the radio quite a bit. For thousands of mornings my clock radio would awaken me for school with the Howard Stern show. Often if I somehow stayed asleep, I would dream for a few seconds that Howard, Robin Quivers and I were on an adventure together. After school ended I would go home and listen to Cool 96.7, a now-defunct radio station that exclusively played doo-wop and other genres of mega-uplifting oldies. Evening rush hour was the best time to listen to college radio stations, and on Sunday nights I would turn on Fordham's Big Band Broadcast and make cutesy illustrations of the lyrics I found to be particularly clever.
Other than the Big Band Broadcast, weekend radio was usually the weakest and worst, more so in the mornings; college radio broadcasts were either Celtic music or medical talk shows and the rock stations would play the same songs as the classic rock stations. I started listening to the main Top 40 station in New York, which would syndicate Casey Kasem's American Top 40 Countdown. The songs were all contemporary garbage with interspersed old-timey trash, like David Cassidy or tracks off the Grease soundtrack.
There was something about Casey Kasem, from his impossibly fake name to his exceptionally positive and corny sentiments, that for me was so uniquely different from the way everything else was packaged and marketed. He had obviously been doing the same show for such an extremely long time from the biggest radio station in Detroit, Michigan, that his position as Shaggy on Scooby Doo and the Muslim first name he used to have had all but melted away. The way he speaks, so gentle but just hoarse enough to be masculine, was as awkwardly tempo-ed and varied tonally with as little regard to the content of what he was saying as a quintessential Christopher Walken-impression.
Ryan Seacrest now hosts the American Top 40 Countdown, and clogs it up with celebrity guests and other attempts to fool people into listening to the radio. I looked up some Ryan Seacrest quotes on Casey Kasem, which included statements on how Casey Kasem was the famous person who made him most nervous and the celebrity to whom he had looked up to for the longest. I read up on Casey Kasem, who has publicly endorsed Nader and Kucinich for the past 9 years, and also published a pamphlet entitled Arab Americans: Making A Difference. I realized that I could probably say those adoring things, too, about Casey Kasem's impact on my creative life; I would just need to be a little liquored up, first.
Tune in tomorrow to AUP Radio for my show Treat Me Rough at 4pm EST [22h - 23h in gay Paris]. This Tuesday's broadcast will include a long distance dedication to Josh Brown, for making the flier you see above. Until then, keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.