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Al Casey

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In Memorium:

At WHB / Kansas City about 1980.

We 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 City.

He was hired by General Manager, Jeanne Oates to replace the departing Jerry Steele as Program Director 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.

Among 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.

Al is survived by his wife, Janie. You can write to her at Anyone wishing to contribute remembrances of Al on this site can do so by contacting the webmaster.


Lee Abrams recalls:

I 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!

It 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.

The 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.

If 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.


Janie Casey accepts an award in memory of Al:

The Conclave Rockwell Award, June 2004

Thank you to the Conclave. Joel (Denver) and Tom, thank you for being here today and your kind words. Kelli and I appreciate it.

Wow! 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.

Al 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.

He 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.

Al's 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.

I 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 you.

Al was Brilliant and his stations Magic.

My Honey, believe it or not you deserve this.

Thank You.


Kelli Casey writes:

Just 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!


Batt Johnson offers:

Al 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 Y-100.

He 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."

At 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.

Owl, I miss you and will ALWAYS remember you...fondly.


Tracy L. Siehndel adds:

Al 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.

I 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.

I 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

Rest in Peace, Al.


Dave Foxx flashes back:

I 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, “I’ve prayed for flashbacks!” He thought the experience was pretty cool, but would never do it again. I guess those days took their toll.

Al was the kindest and most gentle man I think I’ve ever known. And frankly, he probably forgot more about programming than most PDs ever know in their lifetimes. He was brilliant.

The Webmaster remembers:

I 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.

Monday 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!


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