Casey's Top 40 Logo

Casey's Top 40 History

Westwood One lured Casey Kasem away from ABC Radio Networks in 1988 when Casey's contract with ABC expired. Casey along with Westwood One created a competitor to AT40, Casey's Top 40. Casey's Top 40 debuted on January 21, 1989, 4 months after Casey was last heard on AT40.

Prior to the show's debut, Westwood One sent out promotional material called a "survival kit", which let Casey's Top 40 affiliates know about the upcoming show. Included with the kit was a button, a pin, and a flashlight that was called a "Shadow Simulator". A picture of the kit is below (picture is from an ebay auction).

Picture of Survival Kit

The format and features of Casey's Top 40 were very similar to AT40. For example, the "Long Distance Dedication" became "Request and Dedication". In fact, in 1989, some of the jingles used for the show were deemed copyright infringement on AT40. The show thus had to eliminate some jingles. For example, Casey's Top 40 called itself "CT40". "CT40" was found to be too similar to "AT40". However, "Casey's Coast to Coast", the exact same phrasing that was used when Casey hosted AT40, was allowed to continue on Casey's Top 40.

Casey's Top 40 used the Radio and Records pop chart, an airplay only chart. In 1994, when Radio and Records switched chart methodology, the pop chart was split into two sub charts, "Pop" and "Rhythmic". CT40 began using the new "Pop" chart.  This created some interesting chart movements for the week of the change, with songs re-entering the chart and others moving back up 20 notches. CT40 used this chart until its end in 1998. The 1st number one song was "Two Hearts" by Phil Collins, and the final number one was "My Heart Will Go on" by Celine Dion.

Along with the weekly show, there was "Casey's Biggest Hits". Each weekday, a former hit was played with a little story about it read by Casey. Radio stations did not have to use this feature though. When the show was recorded on vinyl, this feature was separate from the main show. After the show went to cds, these daily shows were on the same discs as the top 40.

In the spring of 1992, due to the splintering of radio formats, a need arose for an additional Casey show. Since many stations were dropping Top 40 for more of an adult sound, the new Casey show counted down the top 25 songs of the Adult Contemporary chart. The new show was named "Casey's Countdown" and was 3 hours in length. In addition to the top 25 songs, Requests and Dedications as well as countdown extras were played. 

In 1994, due to the continuing splinter of radio formats, a third Casey show was created. "Casey's Hot 20" debuted in November, 1994 was based on Radio and Records' "Hot AC" chart. "Hot AC" was, and still is to some extent, a format in between Pop and the softer Adult Contemporary format. Casey's Hot 20 counted down the top 20 of the Hot AC chart. Like Casey's Countdown, the show was 3 hours in length and had the familiar Requests and Dedications and extras.

All three shows were popular and continued until March 1998, when Casey brought AT40 back to life.

Like classic AT40, Casey's Top 40 did have some special countdowns. Here is a list of the special countdowns along with their airdates:

Top 40 Acts of the 80s Thanksgiving Weekend, 1989
Top 40 #1s of the 1980s Window of December 18, 1989 - January 6, 1990
Top 40 Movie Hits of the 1980s March 17, 1990
Top 40 Dance Hits of the 1980s May 26, 1990
Top 40 #1 Hits of Summer July 4 Weekend, 1990
Top 40 British Hits of the 1980s Labor Day Weekend, 1990
Top 40 Million Sellers of the 1980s Thanksgiving Weekend, 1990

Here are a few of pictures of the label on the records of CT40 specials:

Summer Hits Label British Hits Label

label for CT40 #1s special

In 1990, CEMA Special Markets released a compilation of songs under the title of "Party Hits from Casey's Top 40". The cassette tape contained 8 songs from artists such as Roxette and Elton John.  Not a lot of information about this compilation is available. Below is a picture of the artwork for the cassette. Click the picture for a larger version.

Artwork for Cassette

This is a non-profit site, designed to educate those who have an interest in the radio show "American Top 40". This site has no affiliation with Premiere Networks, Billboard Magazine, or the former Radio and Records Magazine. All copyrights and trademarks remain property of their respective owners. Original artwork at the very top of this page is copyright 2016 by Meowycats. Comments? Send them using the feedback page.

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