Coast to Coast and Behind the Scenes
Here at Magic, we're big fans of Casey Kasem and American Top 40. You can hear Casey's original countdowns from the 1970s on Saturdays at 6AM and 9PM, and shows from the 80s on Sundays at noon.
Personally, I remember sitting at home when I was a kid, pencil and paper in hand, writing down each song as Casey played them. I wonder if Casey and his producers realized, back when they were making these shows in 1974 (for example) that they might still be airing nearly 40 years later.
Probably not. Life doesn't work that way. The fact that we still have these shows after all this time is pretty amazing. Some of them were scavenged from basements and other storage locations, and I am guessing that some of them might be lost entirely.
Recently, I've gotten acquainted via e-mail with Scott Paton, who was a researcher on the show from 1976 to 1979. He started when he was just 18 years old, and it was one of his first jobs in what has been a long career in broadcasting, advertising, and public relations. Not long ago, he described for me the way a typical week unfolded as Casey and his staff produced the weekly show, and shared some great stories from his time at AT40.
If you're interested in a trip behind the scenes with Casey, you can read Scott's recollections at my other blog. Part 1 is here, and Part 2 is here. Be sure to read the comments on each post, because Scott (and another AT40 expert, Pete Battistini) share some fascinating information there, too--including a story about Gerry Rafferty's classic hit "Baker Street" that left me absolutely flabbergasted when I read it.
After you're done reading those, please poke around elsewhere at my blog after that, if you'd like. I've been writing it for nine years, so there's a lot of stuff there about music, radio, life, and everything.