So I was working on the live Radio Hall of Fame broadcast at the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago, and Casey Kasem was scheduled to be the host. I was in charge of getting Preston Bradley Hall (the room with the giant Tiffany dome and the crazy acoustics) in the Chicago Cultural Center set up for the event, and I'm there at a ridiculous hour of the morning checking tech stuff for that evening's broadcast.
Now, the Radio Hall of Fame isn't the world's most prestigious event, although it's certainly taken seriously by all involved. We're not talking about Oscar levels of funding or staffing, though, so I'm by myself futzing around with low-end rental gear and making inevitable repairs. There's nobody else around, and the building isn't open to the public yet. While working inside a curtained scaffolding, I hear footsteps, and the sound of someone sitting down and shuffling papers from far on the other side of the room. I think it's the security guard or something, so I keep right on working.
Then, without warning, clear as a bell and filling the room, comes the voice of Casey Kasem: "Good evening, I'm Casey Kasem!" and I damn near fall off the scaffolding. Turns out he's the person I heard walking in, and he proceeds to read the entire broadcast script for the evening, start to finish, with full energy and commitment. I come out and keep working, and he doesn't seem to notice. He gets through the entire script, then does it again, then does it again. It sounds the same each time, consistent and compelling and rock-solid. I look over at him every so often, and were it not his voice, it could have been any older man in a sweater sitting in a chair reading the paper and talking to himself while waiting for his lunch to arrive.
After three runs through the script, he gets up unceremoniously and leaves. I didn't see him again until that evening, and his delivery was more or less identical (and just as compelling) as what he'd rehearsed. Unlike that morning (when he kept entirely to himself and the task at hand) that evening we was outgoing and personable and charming. Nevertheless, morning and evening, he was the consummate professional and impressed the hell out of me.
so glad this isn't a Casey Kasem death thread
posted by davejay at 10:33 AM on July 7, 2009 [19 favorites −] [!]
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