Picture of Pete Battistini
Pete Battistini

Picture of Pete Battistini and Casey Kasem
Pete Battistini and Casey Kasem

Picture of Pete's Collection
Contributor Pete Battistini shared these pictures of his amazing collection of AT40 programs.

AT40 80s BOOK

The Pete Battistini Collection

Long regarded as an expert of Casey Kasem's American Top 40 radio program, Pete Battistini was born in Gary, Indiana in 1955. Thirteen years later he picked up his first radio station record survey — a Top 40 listing of the WLS (Chicago) Hit Parade. This lead to a fascination with artist and music variety typically found in Top 40 radio and in Top 40 countdowns.

In 1971, Battistini heard Casey Kasem's American Top 40 for the first time and was instantly captivated. He has accumulated one of the largest collections of American Top 40 memorabilia. His enthusiasm for Casey Kasem's radio show carried over into a desire to document AT40 program information, the 1970s in particular.

Picture of Pete Battistini's AT40 Book Front Cover Pete's book, "American Top 40 with Casey Kasem (The 1970's)" provides highlights and summaries of nearly 500 AT40 programs from the 1970s, along with a highly-detailed list of all subscribing AT40 radio stations. Peppered with various anecdotes and perspectives, Pete opens up his archives and offers more than 100 AT40 illustrations — memos, documents, advertisements, photographs, script cards, radio surveys and much more — to give a "Casey's coast-to-coast" inside look at America's favorite hit parade.

In 2011, Pete has published AMERICAN TOP 40 WITH CASEY KASEM (THE 1980s). This perfect-bound 501-page book includes Casey Kasem analyzing the Five Different Caseys. Battistini painstakingly documented approximately 425 weekly, Casey Kasem-hosted countdown programs from the 80s, and compiled individual program summaries for each week exclusively for this book. In addition, the text includes a complete list of all radio stations, in the U.S. and around the world, that carried the program. Coupled with numerous testimonials of both AT40 insiders and listeners, and more than a hundred illustrations from the 80s, this book is brimming with highlights of the greatest radio program ever!

The Repository thanks Pete Battistini for sharing!

[Descriptions by Pete Battistini unless otherwise indicated]

G2 5.0 compatible TOP STREAM 32Kbps (10KHz)
PLAYLarry Lujack, WCFL Chicago July 5, 1972 (37:47)

. . . How did Harry Caray ever get a job in a major market? . . .

[Description by Pete Battistini]

Larry Lujack's first day on WCFL, 'scoped, rough in a few spots. I did not record this but obtained it in a trade 20+ years ago. I do not recall who recorded it, but it needs to be on REELRADIO, right?

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G2 5.0 compatible TOP STREAM 16.2Kbps (8KHz)
PLAY Casey Kasem, AT40, WCFL October 28 1972 (01:02:32)

. . . the countdown doesn't stop until we reach Number One . . .

[Description by Pete Battistini]

To the best of my knowledge, WCFL began carrying Casey Kasem's American Top 40 on June 24, 1972. I am uncertain why the station decided to broadcast it late Saturday night (Sunday morning) from 1-4 a.m., but that turned out to be Casey's debut shift in Chicago.

REELRADIO pays music licensing fees to present unedited music online. If you enjoy full-length airchecks like this one, your tax-deductible contribution to our operating fund will help keep this and other "unscoped" exhibits available.
A few months later AT40's time slot was moved one hour, to 2-5 a.m. Even though it was the middle of the night, I religiously recorded every program beginning the following week until WCFL dropped the show after airing the Top 80 of the year, on December 30, 1972. Casey was out, Wolfman Jack was in.

My normal routine for recording AT40 included stopping the tape for commercials and news. But, for this sampling on WCFL, which was recorded at 3 3/4 ips on a Sears 7" reel deck, I was sound asleep. Thank goodness for reel tapes with 3600 feet!

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TOP STREAM 44.1Kbps, RA8, 20Khz
(also 5.0 lo-fi compatible)

PLAY Casey Kasem American Top 40 January 20, 1973 (Demo)
PLAY Casey Kasem American Top 40 January 20, 1973 (Full Version)

. . . At number seven - oh, number six for this week . . .

[Description by Pete Battistini]

Here's a ten-minute demo, along with the unscoped version, of the last hour of Casey Kasem's American Top 40 program dated January 20, 1973. The demo was recorded from the original 7-inch reel that was sent to me by Watermark's Tom Rounds when I was a high school student at an educational radio station outside of Chicago in Gary, Indiana. I either called or wrote to him after WCFL dropped Casey a few weeks earlier. According to an accompanying letter from Tom, Watermark charged educational radio stations $28 a week for AT40. I've kept the tape and the demo materials, including the cover letter, all these years.

Casey Kasem, 1975
Casey Kasem, 1975
(Courtesy AT40: Countdown of the Century
A few other items are worth noting. First, with the materials from Watermark was a promotional marketing flyer proclaiming "Soon......Stereo." From it's debut in July 1970 until February 1973, AT40 was produced and distributed to stations in mono. But it was just a matter of time before they made the program more attractive to the growing number of FM stations with a Top 40 format.

Also, the third hour of the 1/20/73 program captured what may be the only time where Casey gives a record's incorrect chart position number, and then immediately corrects himself. When I first heard the demo, I thought it was a special recording different from the actual show. But that's the way it was on the program. Finally, at that point in the history of AT40, there was no attempt made to sell the program to national sponsors. And because the two offerings here are from the demo and the actual program LPs, there are no commercials.

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G2/5.0 compatible TOP STREAM 32 Kbps (10 Khz)
PLAY Larry Lujack, WCFL Chicago, October 1975 (09:12)

. . . Hey, Sup's on, baby . . .

[Description by Uncle Ricky]

This recording of WCFL really sounds good. The fidelity is so good we wish there was an unscoped version, but of course, we always wish for that. This 'scoped 2-3PM hour featuring Larry Lujack from sometime before October 12, 1975 is interesting because it's less than six months from his last Top 40 music show on The Voice of Labor. He seems disinterested (as usual) but not as cynical as we've heard him before. Lots of phone bits and he's actually quite kind to his callers. We must wonder if, in October of 1975, Superjock had any knowledge of the upcoming format change.

And what about WCFL's playlist at this time in 1975? Sure, a few good rock 'n' roll hits, a couple of ballads, and a good dose of dance music, too — sounds like Genuine Top40 — Variety, not diversity.

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G2/5.0 compatible TOP STREAM 44 Kbps (12 Khz)
PLAY WFYR-FM Chicago Crack The Coffin Composite, 10-16-1975 (16:04)

. . . Listen for all the stiffs . . .

[Description by Uncle Ricky]

It's a machine! This composite of WFYR-FM, the RKO Oldies-formatted FM in Chicago is presented here in left-channel only, should you notice. Recorded by contributor Pete Battistini, it spotlights the Crack The Coffin promotion, which encourages listeners to identify the "sleeping superstars" in the million dollar mortuary. All in good fun, or just bad taste? (Or would you like to see how many bottles of water you can drink?)

This exhibit has been extensively diddled (technically), in some areas more than others. Most of the "Coffin" promos were destroyed with excessive AGC in the production room back then and there. Some station promos, ids and jingles (same PAMS package used by sister WROR-FM in Boston) also suffered some sort of processing torture. And who were those wacky and possibly irritating FIRE-FM guys doing the promos?

On the upside, the RKO-provided oldies and backsells sound great! Who is that v/o dude? And, stations that play Don Gardner and Dee Dee Ford backed with Mary Wells are awesome, even if it was just a random event.

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G2/5.0 compatible TOP STREAM 32 Kbps (10 Khz)
PLAY Disco Demolition: The Day After, WLUP-FM Chicago, July 13, 1979 (20:53)

. . . I'm a disc jockey, not a baby sitter . . .

[Description by Uncle Ricky]

This exhibit opens with a short news report from WBBM radio. And then, Steve Dahl and Garry Meier are heard in the first hour of the WLUP-FM ("The Loop") morning show on (Friday) July 13, 1979 — the morning after their widely-reported Disco Demolition promotion.

Dahl was right: this made big news in the contemporary music and radio press. For many of our visitors, this will be the first chance you've had to hear Coho Commander Dahl explain, in his very own hoarse words, exactly what happened.

Hey, some maniac Cohos lost control of their buzz and went down on the field. At least, that was their story, and they stuck to it.

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G2/5.0 compatible TOP STREAM 32 Kbps (10 Khz)
PLAY Larry Lujack, Gary Meier, Steve Dahl, WLS Chicago February 22 1983, Pt. 1 (48:28)

. . . It's a great tradition that morning drive should sound like a cluttered mess . . .

[Description by Uncle Ricky]

Larry Lujack welcomes FM co-workers Gary Meier and Steve Dahl. Part One of this 'scoped exhibit includes segments from 5:30 - 8:21 AM on Mayoral Primary Day, February 22, 1983. There are some truly classic lines from Superjock here. On the difference between the coverage area of WLS-AM and WLS-FM, "the AM's like your first wife, you can pick her up almost anywhere". On why Steve and Gary should be on Larry's show, "it's a program here at WLS to force everyone to like each other."

Larry offers a review of Eating Raoul, and there's an extensive discussion of ABC exec John Gehron, his wife, and other managers and employees of the radio station. There's no question that these are three of the most successful voices in the history of Chicago radio, and at the time, all doing very well and tolerating the proximity of each other.

[ALL REELRADIO exhibits are copyrighted by REELRADIO, Inc. on the date of publication and are provided for real-time streaming, only. DO NOT DUPLICATE, TRADE, OR SELL THIS COPYRIGHTED RECORDING.]

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G2/5.0 compatible TOP STREAM 32 Kbps (10 Khz)
PLAY Larry Lujack, Gary Meier, Steve Dahl, WLS Chicago February 22 1983, Pt. 2 (50:31)

. . . You know, they've got a video game named after them . . .

[Description by Uncle Ricky]

Steve Dahl dominates Part 2 of the WLS morning show with Larry Lujack and Gary Meier from February 22, 1983. Within the first few minutes, we hear from an "irate phone caller" who takes Dahl to task for what she considers to be inflammatory remarks, and Dahl upsets the engineer by not pausing long enough to get a clean break for an AM/FM commercial split.

The cut of his pants becomes a topic of conversation when Fred Winston stops in to pull his oldies for the shift that follows. Lujack makes reference to a lawsuit against the station and Dahl in which Dahl and Winston had the same lawyer. Dahl suggests that WLS salesmen don't have toilets at home, since the first thing they do every morning is get newspapers and go to the bathroom.

Portions of this exhibit are just plain laugh-out-loud funny, and Uncle Lar mostly maintains his composure, despite Dahl's bawdy behavior.

[ALL REELRADIO exhibits are copyrighted by REELRADIO, Inc. on the date of publication and are provided for real-time streaming, only. DO NOT DUPLICATE, TRADE, OR SELL THIS COPYRIGHTED RECORDING.]

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G2/5.0 compatible TOP STREAM 32 Kbps (10 Khz)
PLAY Larry Lujack, WLS Chicago March 17 1983 (01:19:35)

. . . yeah, male goats smell real bad . . .

[Description by Uncle Ricky]

This aircheck of Chicago's WLS features Larry Lujack on St. Patrick's Day, 1983, and includes Little Tommy Edwards (with Animal Stories). Jeffrey Hendrix and Katherine Johns are heard with news.

Superjock also goes to press with his Cheap, Trashy Show Biz Report. Most of this 79 minutes is Larry, News and spots. There are a few musical selections, but the most interesting is Li'l Howlin' Wolf, played during the last six minutes.

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Additional Exhibits from The Pete Battistini Collection...

Herman Griffith Shows for American Forces Radio & Television Service, 1970
Casey Kasem, American Top 40 for AFRTS, May 19, 1973
Casey Kasem, American Top 40 Greatest Disappearing Acts, July 7, 1973
Casey Kasem, American Top 40 for AFRTS, October 20, 1973
Casey Kasem, American Top 40, WCFL Chicago, September 2, 1972
Dick Clark American Bandstand 30th Anniversary, Pt.1
Dick Clark American Bandstand 30th Anniversary, Pt.2
Dick Clark American Bandstand 30th Anniversary, Pt.3
Casey's Number 1 Montage, Hot 100 1974

More to Come from The Pete Battistini Collection!
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