Casey Kasem has finally hung up his mic for the last time. His iconoic broadcasts (the inspiration for acts like Rick Dees in Canada) had kept the radio-listening public informed about the Top 40 songs of the age. Granted, he did exposure whole generations of young kids to some awful music, but he was also around for great moments in music history.
His steady presence over the last 40 years was always reassuring, but given the fact that radio seems to be on a pretty serious decline, I think his passing really does mean the end of an era. Ryan Seacrest, the host of American Idol, had been given the torch back in 2004. I don’t want to spend my time critiquing Seacrest or his ability to host this program, but I do want to say that I don’t think he’ll be able to fill these shoes.
In much the same way I don’t think modern news anchors are able to fill the suspenders of the past legendary individuals like Walter Kronkite, Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw, or Peter Mansbridge. Once Larry King passes, I don’t think anyone will quite be able to replace him.
The problem is definitely generational and technology shifting. The radio doesn’t have the same prominence (hell, even music videos don’t really have a place anymore besides on YouTube). We’re simply looking at an alteration in preferences that will mean that once these giants leave, the last holdouts will likely move on.
Maybe I’m wrong, but either way, Mr. Kasem, you did a good thing and I think it’s a tribute to say that you won’t really ever be replaced.