Radio personality Casey Kasem may be on the way out after 18 years as host of "American Top 40," the weekly show on which he plays the week's top-selling pop records.
Contract negotiations, which began last summer, have ended in a stalemate over Kasem's salary--an amount both sides refused to disclose Wednesday.
"There's only a slight chance that things could be worked out if they (Kasem and his attorney) come back to the bargaining table," said Tom Cuddy, vice president of entertainment programming for the ABC Radio Network.
ABC already has started auditioning for a new host, Cuddy said. He said that he plans to name Kasem's successor within 30 days, although the new host won't take over until next January, when Kasem's contract expires.
Kasem's attorney, Mark Armbruster, was more optimistic. "Casey's relationship with ABC is excellent," the Los Angeles lawyer said. "We're still open to discussions with ABC at any time, but I have no way of predicting whether there is a good, bad or medium chance of contract negotiations being concluded with ABC. It's out of our hands right now."
Kasem, who was not available for comment, has received offers from "various serious players" including ABC's main competitor, Westwood One, Armbruster said.
With or without Kasem, the show's current format and staff will remain intact, Cuddy said.
"Casey has done a tremendous job over the last 18 years but the show will survive as long as the foundation is strong," Cuddy said.
"American Top 40," which first aired in 1970, is heard on nearly 500 radio stations worldwide. Locally, it is carried on KEZY-FM in Anaheim.