Editorial: Our long distance dedication

Jun. 16, 2014 @ 11:58 PM

For at least a couple of generations, maybe more, he was a voice of comfort from our radio.

We went with him from AM and FM and a time of eight-tracks to satellite. Oh, how times changed.

But one thing that never did change, or so it seemed, was the soothing tones of a disc jockey broadcast nationally and picked up by many of the local stations needing weekend programming with minimal or no local staffing.

Casey Kasem counted down the pop chart weekly for decades on “American Top 40.” His broadcasts were coast to coast and even made it around the globe before that gadget called the Internet. He died on Sunday, and with him went a piece of us.

When something becomes a part of Americana, it is unmistakable. Intent doesn’t really matter. We gravitate in various directions based on what we like, and eventually there becomes a fabric that is woven tight.

Kasem was a radio voice we instantly recognized. His was gentle. He told us stories about the music we enjoyed. He told us about the people who were singing the music or who wrote it or who were part of the band or production team.

He had information we didn’t know, and his way of telling us repeatedly drew us in to see just what interesting fact or anecdotes were going to give us an emotion.

Music, if nothing else, is filled with emotion and passion. We appreciated the extra touch.

He brought us the “long distance dedication.” We didn’t directly know the people he put together on the two ends, usually from a hand-written letter, but we might have heard of at least one of them. It didn’t matter. He’d typically tug at our hearts and melt us away in about 60 seconds or less.

We can still hear the replays of Kasem’s weekly broadcasts. They might be more than 40 years old in some cases. We enjoy the music, and the voice in between the tunes transports us instantly to a different age.

To so many people, Casey Kasem was one of the good things in life. And his closing advice will stay with us forever: “Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars.”