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Home » Encouragement » The Sonny Melendrez Podcast 003 – Paying It Backwards: Lessons learned from Dick Clark and Casey Kasem

The Sonny Melendrez Podcast 003 – Paying It Backwards: Lessons learned from Dick Clark and Casey Kasem

Sonny and Dick pose for a pic outside the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium during rehearsal for The American Music Awards

Sonny presents Casey with The Sonny Melendrez Sunshine Award for bringing his brand of sunshine to legions of fans in Southern California and beyond.

In this episode, Sonny shares how he met two giants in the world of broadcasting: Dick Clark and Casey Kasem.

Listen to rare audio of one of many radio appearances by Dick Clark on Sonny’s show. This conversation took place over the airwaves of KMPC Radio– The Station of the Stars – in Los Angles in 1980.

Sonny also tells the story how he met Casey Kasem and received a call that led to a dream come true.

The lessons learned from these two icons is priceless.

*Mentioned on the show: KMPC Radio, KINT Radio, Dick Clark Productions, American Top 40, Gene Pitney, Brenda Lee, Bobby Vee, Bobby Rydell, Barry Manilow, Neal Sedaka, Connie Francis, Bo Diddly, Freddie Cannon, The Coasters, Norm N. Nite

2 Responses so far.

  1. Anthony Zuniga says:

    Sonny, you and I share the same icons. Since I was kid, I also listened to Casey Casem’s American top 40.
    I spent a lot of time in hospitals as a chronic asthmatic, and held my trusty transistor radio close and listen to Casey tell me all I needed to know for the week. I also watched American Bandstand religiously. I loved Dick Clarks “Rate A Record”. He was simply clever and smooth on the mic.
    Although I didn’t get to meet either Icon, I did get to meet Henry Peña, a local Radio Personality. I used to go to his “Pepsi Peña” Show on Saturdays with my sister cindy to dance to the latest hits at KWEX-TV Studio on St.Marys at Durango street. It was the closest I ever got to a TV Show host other than Captain Gus at I believe was Kens-tv. I have always been a huge fan of you Sonny. After my mom found
    An Asthma ENT Specialist, and made great strides in living a more normal life with preventive medicines, I was blessed with being able to finish High School, and work at SWBell and AT&T. I have always bought records through the years with my allowance, growing up, I still have my collection. Now, I was able to buy dj equiptment, but actually, my first “gig” was a 13yr. Old
    Girls birthday party and my system was my then most expensive stereo system at the time…Radio Shacks best and their top of the line mixer. I believe I was the only dj back in 1981 who would introduce practically each and every song as Casey Casem, Dick Clark and Sonny Melendrez Would on the radio.
    I’ve said it before, you are my hero because you were able to live out many dreams because of your determination. I tried putting together a Demo back in the 80’s in hopes to get hired by either KTFM, KXTN or then KRIO. But, I didn’t get any of those stations.
    I’ve Always tried getting backstage to many of those stations events acting like I belonged there, by blending in. I may have shared this story before with you but, I met you once back in the 80’s at Splashtown. I knew you were there with family, and as much I wanted so to meet you, I also respected you as a private individual taking in some off time with family. I debated in my head back and forth, “Should I or shouldn’t I go up to the one and only Sonny Melendrez, and talk to him about his illustrious Radio Career and how I was his biggest fan? Or leave my hero alone and let him relax. Well, my head win the debate and I went up to you. You were everything I knew you’d be. The nicest, mist personable and very approachable man i ever met. As you post many amazing stories on facebook, and having found through the years that you were also a voice actor,
    And have done voice chatcterizations for animated characters as well, I too began doing voices, but, hahaha…for my kids, through their teddy bears and toy soldiers. I’ve always envisioned myself becoming a radio dj. I’ve been a “In-house” dj for a couple of places but, otherwise a freelance dj. This lengthy message, I hope, tells you I love to talk. My mom, may she rest in peace, always told me at the dinner table, “Aye Mijo, hurry up and eat your food while it’s still hot” ( haha ) I would reply “But mom, I have lots to tell you you ( about music, the latest hits, etc., )
    This Podcast is Simply Awesome. And your meetings and Interviews with the greatest People to ever take a mic in hand and tell us about the greatest music snd artists of the times is, I think, Amazing. I hope to meet you again very soon Sonny. I do what I can facebook, knowing full well it is not radio, but I share with everyone, some memories through song posts with tidbits of the artists. I am now your 12th fan here. Count on it Sonny. Blessings to you and your family, now and always, your biggest fan,

  2. Sonny Melendrez says:


    Thanks for your thoughtful note. I can appreciate your enthusiasm for radio, music and entertainment.

    Never let go of your dream. Sometimes, we are able to do what we love in different ways than we imagined. As I like to say, “Opportunity will find you, but it must find you working.”

    You need not make excuses for liking to talk. It’s your gift. And, I must tell you that I was touched by your story of what your mom would tell you at the dinner table. Yes, you do have so much to tell and you tell it well, Anthony.

    Thanks again and may you continue to spread your joy!

    ~Sonny Melendrez

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