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Dedicated in memory
American Top 40's 50th Anniversary
Click below to hear a re-creation of the original broadcast of American Top 40 on WPGC,
one of the original 8 stations to carry the show on Sunday, July 5th, 1970 from 9a-12p.
The original American
Top 40 'Uncle
Sam' logo, by Paul Gruwell, circa 1970
more on the history of the show and its evolution. See which
stations are airing
re-broadcasts of the original shows nationally. Early in 1970, Tom Rounds of Watermark traveled to Beantown to meet with WPGC & WMEX owner, Max Richmond in an effort to get him to run the show. Getting two powerhouse stations such as these would go a long way in convincing stations in smaller markets to do the same. 'Mac' was receptive to the idea, if only because the program was free at the time and he didn't have to pay an air personality to cover that shift. Hence, these two stations became the first to agree to clear the show and among the first 7 to air the broadcast. On WPGC, this occured on Sunday, July 5th, 1970 from 9a-12p.
WPGC continued to carry the show for 13 years until the program was taken away in 1983 by ABC which had acquired Watermark the previous year and then began giving the show to ABC Owned & Operated stations in markets where they had them. AT 40 was then forcibly taken away from WPGC and given to Q107 when the contract came up for renewal on July 1st of that year. At the time, WPGC was the longest running affiliate, the only one of the original 8 stations still carrying the show and ran it twice each weekend, on Sunday mornings and Sunday evenings. Casey himself did not approve of the roughshod way in which ABC treated long term affiliates, just one of numerous conditions that led to his leaving ABC / Watermark in August of 1988.
Read how WPGC was one of the first two stations to sign up to carry AT 40 (sister station, WMEX in Boston was the other) and air the program on its July 4, 1970 weekend debut in, 'In Search Of American Top 40's Original Stations'.
Kasem had worked on the air at WJBK / Detroit, WBNY / Buffalo,
WJW / Cleveland and KEWB / San Francisco before moving to KRLA
in Los Angles in 1963. In 1966, he began hosting a daily TV
dance show, 'Shebang!' produced by Dick Clark. By 1969, Casey's
commercial voice-over and cartoon work as 'Shaggy'
Doo' was becoming time restrictive to the extent that he
gave up his full time afternoon shift at KRLA
but continued doing one weekend shift on Sunday afternoons with
(what else?), a local countdown show which became the prototype
for 'AT 40'.
and his partner, Don
Bustany were interested in taking the show nationally but
were in need of a syndication deal. In a coincidence of cosmic
proportions, at the same time, a new syndicator in Hollywood,
headed by former KFRC
Program Director, Tom
Rounds and former KHJ
legendary PD, Ron
Jacobs were searching for shows that might be offered to
meeting of the minds at Art's
Deli in Studio City in the Fall of 1969 set the stage for
the birth of the program the following July 4th weekend. Getting
stations to sign up for the show however proved problematic.
Rounds traveled to Boston in early 1970 to secure an agreement
with Max Richmond,
owner of both WMEX
in Beantown as well as WPGC. Getting clearance on two powerhouses
such as these would go a long way in convincing stations in
smaller markets to do the same. The result of that meeting was
that Richmond agreed to carry the show on his stations.
WPGC and WMEX became
the first two stations to agree to run the program. By the time
of the show's debut, both stations were among the original 7
affiliates to air it. On WPGC, this occurred on Sunday, July
5, 1970 from 9a-12 noon.
song lengths continued to increase during the '70's, it became
increasingly difficult to squeeze 40 songs into the three hour
format of the show. The inevitable expansion of the program
to 4 hours began on 10/0778. To fill the extra time, Long Distance
Dedications, which had debuted shortly before the lengthening
of the show, as well as the AT 40 Archives, a chronological
review of all the #1 hits of the '70's (and later, the '60's)
1982, Watermark, the production company responsible for
'AT40' was acquired by ABC Radio who proceeded
to take the show away from long time affiliates in markets where
ABC owned stations. In Washington, the show as taken from WPGC
(which was running it twice each weekend by then) after 13 consecutive
years (the only remaining station of the original 7 and the
longest running affiliate at the time) and given to Q107
for this reason in 1983.
1988, Casey left the show over a contract dispute with ABC and
launched his own show, 'Casey's Countdown' on the Westwood
One Radio Network. Rights to the name of American Top 40
reverted to Casey and Don in 1997 with 'AT 40' returning the
next year on the AM/FM Networks. The
original shows from the '70's & '80's continue to run in
syndication today through the Premiere Radio Networks.
same shows, now restored digitally are also available from CharisMusicGroup.com
where many of the chart lists can also be found. Fans should
check out also Walt Bailey's tribute site to 'AT 40' at
that has complete chart lists for all the programs in its various
incarnations over the years.
excellent books on the history of the show are Rob Durkee's,
'American Top 40, The Countdown Of The Century' and 'American
Top 40 With Casey Kasem (The 1970's)' and 'American Top
40 With Casey Kasem (The 1980's)' by Pete Battistini.
Kasem passed away
on June 15, 2014 at age 82 after an extended battle between
his second wife and his children from his first marriage over
His eldest child, Kerri
continues his tradition in broadcasting as well as his activism
in her fight against Seniors abuse. Just days earlier, Tom Rounds
passed away on 06/01/14 at age 77. After Watermark was absorbed
by ABC, he became responsible for syndication of the show outside
the U.S. through his own company, 'Radio Express'.
Ron Jacobs joined his colleagues on Cloud 9 on 06/03/16 after
having also created, 'The History of Rock & Roll'
for Drake-Chenault as well as initated the 'Cruisin'
series of radio broadcast re-creations on vinyl (of which Harv
Moore was the featured personality on the 1969
childhood friend from Detroit, Don
Bustany passed away on 04/23/18
in Santa Barbara. He was
the show's original writer and producer. With the success of
'AT 40', within a few years he and Casey also co-created its
spin-off, 'American Country Countdown'. But his involvement
in the industry would go far beyond 'AT 40' and 'ACC'. In the
early 1970's, he began working for 'MTM', first as a camera
coordinator and later as a technical coordinator on the 'Mary
Tyler Moore Show' and the 'Bob
Newhart Show', a program he also directed
an episode of. Other shows he was involved with included,
and the 'Tony
the '80's when Casey took the countdown show format to television
Top Ten', Don was by his side easing the transition to the
video age for his lifelong friend. Don Bustany was 89.
more about his
about his activism.
Read more in the Hollywood
Reporter. And in RAMP.
the one and only time Don
introduced 'AT 40' when the first guest host, Dave Hull
filled in for Casey on 11/06/71.
tribute to Casey in 2013.
Don's passing, all four of 'AT 40's founding fathers have now
gone on to that great transmitter in the sky.... :(
40 Guest Host, Dave Roberts wrote:
site! I'm Dave Roberts, the fill-in for Casey reading the WPGC
mention below on 06/21/80.
(I guest-hosted a total of 4 times until I became host of "The
Hot Ones" on the RKO Radio Network in the 80's.)
I was at (AT 40 affiliate), KYA in San Francisco at the
Interestingly, and not related to being tapped to guest host,
I was also one of the first 7 Sunday morning jocks to rack up
those 10-inch reels (AT 40 was not distributed on vinyl
LP until 1971) and debut that first AT 40 episode back
on the Fourth of July weekend, 1970 on KPOI in Honolulu.
Tom Moffett, the General Manager of KPOI was also one of the
Watermark partners, which is why we were one of the first
seven stations (besides WPGC) to carry the show.
I was working at KYA, (AT 40 Producer), Don Bustany sent
us a request for auditions. At the time, I was the afternoon
drive DJ, Research Director, and "station voice" for
the FM side. The Production Director asked me as I was wrapping
up our daily session why I hadn't set up a time for my audition.
What audition? I hadn't gotten the memo (literally). So, he
said, "Here's the script, why don't you give it a try because
I have to send these out today".
So, I cranked it out quickly and ran off to do my air shift.
A few week's later, it was announced to the staff that I had
been chosen to sit in. The cut with the WPGC
mention was from that first show I guest hosted. I did the
show three more times (although Don called me at least 2-3 other
times, but since I was host of the RKO syndicated show,
he said ABC wouldn't go for that.)
interesting, is that neither Don Bustany or anybody else including
AT 40 co-creator, Tom Rounds (who I had met at KPOI when
he came in to do one of those anniversary shows) knew I had
worked for their partner Tom Moffett in Honolulu. (I'd do a
Long Distance Dedication to "Tom in Honolulu"
if I could...he was a terrific boss and a radio guy through
Roberts passed away at age 70 after a long battle with cancer
week, American Top 40 is heard coast to coast
and around the world on great radio stations like.....'
to Pete's aforementioned books, here is the complete listing
of American Top 40 shows during the '70's & '80's
in which WPGC was identified as one of the stations carrying
on the dates below to see the cue sheets from the show or any
of the songs to hear the WPGC mention for that week. Don't miss
the 20 minute medley of all the mentions below the individual
extra special Good Guy salute to Pete Battistini who compiled
the majority of the below. All clips are ©
added, are Question Letters and Long Distance Dedications sent
in by WPGC listeners over the years.
WPGC Station Mentions
Station Mentions Montage
Medley of WPGC mentions on AT 40
Listener Question Letters
song was on the charts the longest?
the other Osmonds on Donny's songs?
the most controversial song ever?
Same artist, same title, but different song?
any White artists hit #1 on Soul chart?
any artist have #1 song of the year, twice?
any White artists hit #1 on Soul chart?*
with the most Top Ten hits?
Any #1 Song Of The Year Not Hit #1?
Acts on the LP Charts after hitting #1?
family had the most recording acts - 1?
family had the most recording acts - 2?**
married couple hit #1 the most?
any TV Stars have #1 records?
any debut album become the #1 LP of the year?
recording act had the shortest name?
Any Artist Hit #1 Album with Their First LP?***
Many Female Duos on the Charts?****
question sent in by the same listener, used 16 months later.
question sent in by the same listener, used 14 weeks later!
question sent in by a different listener, used 6 years
in by a WPGC listener but aired several months later on Q107.
Listener Questions Montage
Medley of WPGC Listener Question Letters Montage
Long Distance Dedications
Long Distance Dedications Montage
Medley of WPGC Long Distance Dedications
Custom WPGC Production Elements
for Good Guys Radio
for Big Wilson
on images to see enlargement.
Kit One - Sheet
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