Radio Legend Casey Kasem is Honored in Fenton, Michigan
When Carmine Avantini heard that Casey Kasem would be visiting Fenton, he knew he had to see the man famous for his countdown show.
“When I heard about it, I said I have to go. I have to be there,” the Fenton resident said.
On Saturday, Kasem visited the city where he has family ties as part of Casey Kasem Day, a fundraiser for the proposed $3.5-million cultural center to be added to the Fenton Community Center.
Avantini and his wife Sandy were guests at a dinner where Kasem was presented with a key to the city and proclamations from the governor and county commissioners.
Kasem said he was overwhelmed by the cityÂ¹s gifts to him.
“I’m honored to be playing a part in the future of a thriving community,” Kasem said.
The day kicked off with a showing of a Scooby Doo movie, in which Kasem delivers the nervous tones of Shaggy, ScoobyÂ¹s owner. After the movie, Kasem signed autographs and judged a coloring contest.
Meghan Placek, 14, had the honor of dressing up as Scooby and escorting Kasem into the gymnasium.
“He’s such a great guy. He’s so humble,” she said. “He was willing to take pictures and sign autographs and not many celebrities are willing to do that.”
KasemÂ¹s next stop was the formal dinner. He later planned to appear at a concert with rocker John Waite.
Pat Lockwood, co-chairwoman of fundraising for the event, said Kasem’s appearance “brought such awareness to the cultural center.” Lockwood said that at the concert, the event committee would present Kasem with a birthday cake and he would present the city with a $1,000 donation to the cultural center.
The proposed cultural center will be designed as a 350-seat auditorium for community plays and concerts, with classes for music and dance. Plans are in place for a sculpture garden in the front and back of the venue.
About $1 million already has been raised for the project, not including proceeds from
Kasem, who grew up in the Detroit area, spent summers in Goodrich and Fenton, where his mother and aunt operated a grocery store. He’s been the voice of the “American Top 40” show, counting down hits and filling airwaves for decades.
Fans can hear him on the radio at Flint’s WCRZ-FM (108). The station airs his “American Top 10” from 9 a.m. – noon on Sundays and rebroadcasts his “American Top 40, the 80s” from 8 p.m. – midnight on Saturdays.