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Casey Kasem's final countdown

June 24, 2009 |  4:44 pm

Casey_kasem__ It’s the final countdown—again—for Casey Kasem.  The radio legend will wind up his “American Top 40” spin-off programs, “American Top 20” and “American Top 10,” on July 4— a date of significance: He created the franchise on July 4, 1970.

“Hosting various versions of my countdown program has kept me extremely busy, and I loved every minute of it,” Kasem, 77, said in a statement.  “However, this decision will free up time I need to focus on myriad other projects.”

But that famous voice (he provided the vocals for Shaggy on the “Scooby Doo” cartoon series) will live on. His classic 1970s and 1980s “AT40” countdowns will continue to be distributed by syndicator Premiere Radio Networks. 

 The “King of the Countdowns’ ” departure from the adult contemporary-oriented franchise is nothing new.  After contractual concerns in 1988 with the show’s owner, ABC Watermark, Casey left "AT40." But ownership reverted back to Casey and he returned in 1998 to host the revived version. He stepped down as host in 2004 and handed the duties over to Ryan Seacrest.

His “American Top 20” show airs on KBIG-FM (104.3) in Los Angeles and on KGMX-FM Lancaster. 

 --Yvonne Villarreal

Photo credit: AP