are very sorry to report the passing of veteran programmer, Al
Casey on Monday, February 23, 2004 at age 60 of cancer. Al's
long list of programming success stories included WMYQ / Miami,
WDRQ / Detroit, KSLQ / St. Louis, 99X / New York, and WHB / Kansas
was hired by General
Manager, Jeanne Oates
to replace the departing Jerry
Steele as Program
in 1983 and attempted to reposition the station closer to its
former hipper, heritage position
as 'The New 95' but was pre-empted by station ownership
more intent on stealing WASH-FM's
then recently relinquished adult contemporary crown.
his accomplishments, he will be remembered for first teaming Jeff
Baker & David Burd
for mornings to try and offset the station's declining ratings,
but it was too little, too late.
is survived by his wife, Janie.
You can write to her at email@example.com.
wishing to contribute
remembrances of Al on this site can do so by contacting
had the pleasure of living with Al at the famous "Q-house"
in Coconut Grove, Florida when we put on one of the first FM Top
40's in history. Someone had the idea that instead of everyone
living in crummy apartments, let's pitch in and rent a mansion.
Damn if we'd didn't pull it off!
was an oasis of creativity and pure 1971 attitude as Al, myself,
Robert Walker, girlfriends (including Janie Casey!), staff members,
record guys and other hangers on turned this place into a place
that was pure magic. I recall Al as a masterful balance of boss
(he was PD and I was MD and a god awful DJ), and all around good
guy that spearhead this amazing station.
place was the occasional hangout of the San Diego Mafia consisting
of Buzz Bennett, Rich Robbins and Bobby Ocean - who were running
our sister station KCBQ. Now THOSE visits were what consulting
is all about, but that's another lunch. Looking back, it was such
an incredible time. Perhaps the most incredible part was meeting
Al and establishing a long relationship with one of the greatest
figures that ever graced radio.
there's ONE thing I owe him, it's a big thank you for telling
me to lose the haircut and suit that I wore when I tried to impress
this big time Drake PD at my first interview. Of course, we all
got stoned in a motel room and I got the job.....You don't see
many job interviews like THAT anymore. He may be physically gone
for now, but an A Bomb couldn't erase the memories and impact
he had on me...and radio.
Casey accepts an award in memory of Al:
Conclave Rockwell Award, June 2004
you to the Conclave. Joel
(Denver) and Tom, thank you for being here today and your
kind words. Kelli and I appreciate it.
This is cool. Very cool, however, I would give anything if it
was Al standing before you today instead of me. I first heard
of this award at his memorial service. I know if he was alive
and heard he was going to get this award he would be brought to
tears. He'd be over whelmed and in a state of disbelief. That's
because he never thought he was great or thought he deserved any
recognition and there was nothing you could do or say to convince
him otherwise. Believe me I tired.
was always trying to be a better program director and a better
person. He always treated you with respect and dignity; he was
kind and gracious. He was also loving, truthful, honest, understanding,
patient, and forgiving. Of course it came with his big smile and
positive attitude. Those attributes explain why he is so loved.
truly loved to program radio stations, and his very favorite part
of programming was being a teacher and mentor. I know people who
are entirely grateful to him for being so successful at that.
career was built on start ups and pulling them out of the dirt;
turn a rounds. It was like; why would someone want a station already
up and going or one with ratings? Where's the fun in that? We
lived coast to coast and border to border with places in between
in pursuit of this passion. It was a very strange trip. It was
fun, wonderful, wild and crazy. I thank God I was along for the
ride. There is not one second of regret.
know he would want to thank Buzz Bennett, Lee Abrams, Rob Walker,
John Lodge, Jack McCoy, Bill Tanner, Paul Drew, Eddie Haskell,
Rick Torcasso and Jay Albright for all he learned and all the
fun he had during the hours spent discussing radio and programming
philosophy. He would also want to thank everyone who worked with
him at all his stations; he knew he was successful because of
was Brilliant and his stations Magic.
Honey, believe it or not you deserve this.
wanted to thank you for the wonderful memorial on my Dad, Al!
He was the kindest, most giving soul I've ever known and wish
I'd had the chance to spend more time with him growing up! I know
that I visited that station when he was there and he was kickin'
ass (for lack of a better term). He left his mark on many, many
people! He's looking down on all of us now
and just in awe of how many people that he touched and influenced!
Casey was one of the really wonderful programmers and human beings
in our business. Everyone always says great things about people
after they pass on. I said these things about him to his face
and to anyone who would listen. Al
brought me to Kansas City in late 1974 or '75 when I was working
for Robert W. Walker, Bill Tanner and Cecil Heftel in Miami at
helped me, protected me, guided me, brought me into his home,
his family and into his life. He ALWAYS had a smile for EVERYONE.
I only saw him angry ONCE. That was when I had a two-man afternoon
show with Dan Donovan. One day we were doing this bit where we
were "Calling the Kremlin Collect." We put the
operator on the air and THAT DID IT. He came storming into the
studio, screaming..."What are you guys doing, trying to get
us all sued and fired?" We were just looking for some laughs,
ratings and some memories. Well, we got all three. Little did
we know that an innocent bit like that would truly be tame by
the standards of the future and "Shock Jocks."
any rate, I went to 66
WNBC in New York from there and never stopped calling and
talking to my friend, Al Casey. Gee, that was almost thirty years.
I miss you and will ALWAYS remember you...fondly.
L. Siehndel adds:
was a dear friend of my family. He worked at WHB with my father
Dan Donovan and other good friends like Batt Johnson, Sugar Bear
and Catfish Chris Kelly.
have known Al and his wife Janie since I was a little girl. I
remember how much he made me laugh and how much fun we all had
at the "WHB parties" my parents would have.
was blessed to be in touch with Al in the months before he passed.
My heart goes out to Janie, he will certainly be missed. He was
loved by many and shall never be forgotten
in Peace, Al.
Foxx flashes back:
remember Al watching a conversation I had with someone else at
WPGC one time, about LSD and how people suffer flashbacks later
in life. Al interrupted and said that was a myth. Both of us looked
at him with surprise. He said, I did my time in Haight-Ashbury
back in the 60s, which included dropping a lot of acid.
(He was totally clean by the time he got to WPGC.) He continued,
Ive prayed for flashbacks! He thought the experience
was pretty cool, but would never do it again. I guess those days
took their toll.
was the kindest and most gentle man I think Ive ever known.
And frankly, he probably forgot more about programming than most
PDs ever know in their lifetimes. He was brilliant.
began doing weekends at 66
WNBC in New York while still at WPGC. I didn't tell
anyone I'd been hired because I was so nervous about being on
such a blowtorch in my hometown. My first show at WNBC was a Saturday
night shift but I had to be back on the air in DC for my regular
6th day Sunday night shift at WPGC. When I got to the station
- Al was there!!!! I freaked out thinking the only reason he could
be there on a Sunday night is because he must have heard me the
night before in NY and was going to fire me!!
After I explained everything to him he was real cool about it.
morning came around and the Chief Engineer, Smitty
(who knew full well which AM stations had gone Stereo and had
been listening to me on Saturday night) walked in to Al's office
to announce he'd heard me on WNBC! I thank the radio gods that
Al had been there that Sunday night or I would have had a lot
of explaining to do!