- Associated Press - Sunday, June 15, 2014

DETROIT (AP) - Detroit disc jockeys took time Sunday to remember the late Casey Kasem, a native son of the Motor City whose voice first graced the city’s airwaves when he was still in high school.

Kasem, who went on to create the long-running “American Top 40” radio show, died Sunday at a hospital in Washington state, his family said. He was 82.

Veteran Detroit disc jockey Lee Alan said he was a Cooley High School student when he listened to Kasem’s nighttime radio show, “Casey at the Mic,” on WJBK-AM.

“It was a different Casey,” Alan told The Detroit News (http://bit.ly/1lDBX5P ). “He was upbeat, fast, loud, exciting and totally different than his later network shows. But he had a phrase that he would repeat all throughout his WJBK Detroit show, ‘The cream of the crop till 12 o’clock.’ Years later, I took his phrase and used it in every opening theme on my shows. I gave him credit, too.”

Robin Seymour, who was on the air as Kasem’s competitor on WKMH in the 1950’s, described him as “the nicest guy” and close to his family. At the same time, Kasem was “a real aggressive guy” who “really worked hard to get where he got,” Seymour said.

He was born Kemal Amin Kasem in Detroit in 1932, the son of Lebanese immigrants who had a small grocery store. His first on-air work was as an intern actor on the Detroit Public Schools’ radio station WDTR while attending Northwestern High School.

At what is now Wayne State University, Kasem worked as an usher at a WXYZ quiz show. He auditioned for acting roles on radio dramas, and appeared on “Challenge of the Yukon” and “Lone Ranger.”

According to Seymour, Kasem never lost his love of acting.

“Casey, I know, would have given all his wealth if he could have been a star in motion pictures,” Seymour said.

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Information from: The Detroit News, http://detnews.com/