Casey's Top 40

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Casey's Top 40 was a CHR/Pop music countdown program that was hosted by Casey Kasem for the Westwood One radio network. Kasem joined Westwood One after eighteen years of hosting American Top 40 for ABC Radio Networks.

Casey's Top 40 premiered on January 21, 1989 nationwide and took the place of American Top 40, which was taken over by Shadoe Stevens after Kasem's departure, in a significant number of U.S. media markets. The show ran until March 21, 1998, but Kasem did not participate in the last several shows after leaving Westwood One following a dispute over the name of the show.

Similarities between CT40 and AT40[edit]

Casey's Top 40 was similar to Kasem's old AT40 show featuring Kasem's trademark voice, teasers, and trivia on the songs and artists (including the "stretch" stories) but rather than using the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart, it used the Radio & Records Contemporary (CHR)/Pop radio airplay chart (making it feature exactly the same song positions as the Rick Dees Weekly Top 40, which used the same chart at the time). Kasem's dedication letters segment was now called "Request and Dedications."

Initially, Casey would call the program "CT40", just like he would call his former show "AT40"; however, a lawsuit from ABC ordered Casey and Westwood One to refrain from using the short form name, as it sounded too similar to "AT40". (A country chart show, Bob Kingsley's Country Top 40, have called themselves "CT40" since beginning in 2005, without opposition.) Ironically, ABC did not take issue with the "Casey's Coast to Coast" jingles although it used a different melody than the one used on AT40.

Casey's Countdown is born[edit]

Due to the decline of CHR radio in the 1990s and a handful of Adult Contemporary stations carrying Casey's Top 40, Westwood One created an Adult Contemporary version of the program in 1992 called Casey's Countdown, which featured the top 25 AC hits from the R&R chart. In November 1994, Casey's Hot 20 premiered and highlighted the top 20 songs on R&R's Hot Adult Contemporary chart which the trade paper began in April of the same year. At the same time, Casey's Countdown began to highlight only the top 20 AC songs of the week.

Casey Kasem leaves Westwood One[edit]

In early 1998, three years after ABC ended American Top 40, Kasem was able to acquire rights to the name. Once he had them Kasem went to Westwood One with his desire to rebrand Casey's Top 40. Westwood One refused to do this, so Kasem chose to leave the network and take his countdown programs elsewhere. Casey's Top 40, Casey's Hot 20, and Casey's Countdown continued without him for several more weeks, while Kasem signed with Chancellor Media's AM/FM Radio Networks (now Premiere Networks, a unit of Clear Channel Communications which succeeded Chancellor Media) and began hosting a revived AT40 along with two adult contemporary countdown shows, both bearing the name American Top 20.

On the last two editions of the Westwood One programs, no mention of Casey was made, and the shows were renamed "The Top 40 Countdown", "The Top 20 Countdown" and "The Hot 20 Countdown". The intent was for Westwood One to establish countdown shows to compete with the new AT40 in the future, but the company reconsidered and the final editions of all three countdown programs aired on March 21, 1998, the week before the AT40 relaunch,

Sources[edit]

  • Durkee, Rob. American Top 40: The Countdown of the Century. ISBN 0-02-864895-1. New York City: Schirmer Books, 1999. Accessed December 10, 2007.