Carl Kasell

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Carl Kasell
Carl Kasell.jpg
Carl Kasell with a stuffed duck after a broadcast of Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!
Born (1934-04-02) April 2, 1934 (age 83)
Goldsboro, North Carolina, U.S.A.
Residence Washington, D.C.[1]
Nationality United States
Occupation Radio Newscaster
Employer NPR
Spouse(s) Mary Ann Kasell

Carl Kasell (/ˈkæsəl/; born April 2, 1934) is an American radio personality, most widely known as a newscaster for National Public Radio and as the former official judge and scorekeeper of the weekly news quiz show Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! Kasell left Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! He retired in 2014. [2]

Early life[edit]

A native of Goldsboro, North Carolina, Kasell was a student of drama in high school, where one of his mentors was Andy Griffith, then a high school drama instructor. Although Griffith urged Kasell to pursue a career in theatre, Kasell preferred radio. During his time at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he helped launch local radio station WUNC with fellow student Charles Kuralt.

In an interview with Renée Montagne, just before his final broadcast on NPR's Morning Edition, Kasell revealed that he knew he would be in radio at a young age. He said that he hid behind the radio to fool passers-by into thinking they were listening to the radio when they in fact were hearing the young Kasell.[3]


Kasell worked as an announcer and DJ at a radio station in Goldsboro, North Carolina before moving to the Washington, DC area in 1965. He is a member of the North Carolina Journalism Hall of Fame.

After leaving North Carolina, Kasell advanced to the position of news director at WAVA (AM) in Arlington, Virginia. As news director in Virginia, he hired Katie Couric, then a student at the University of Virginia, as an intern one summer, which was the start of her career in news broadcasting.

Kasell joined National Public Radio's staff as a news announcer for Weekend All Things Considered in 1975. He was also the news announcer for NPR's Morning Edition from its inception in 1979 through 2009.

NPR launched its weekly news quiz Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! in 1998, with Kasell as official judge and scorekeeper. Until October 21, 2017, listeners who won a game on the show could have Kasell record a greeting for their home answering machine or voice mail system. Because this prize has been such a long-standing tradition for the show, more than 2,000 people have had his voice on their answering machines.[3] The current prize is to have any show panelist or staff member of the contestant's choice record the greeting, including Kasell.

In 1999, Kasell shared in the George Foster Peabody Award given to Morning Edition.

Kasell speaking in Nashville, Tennessee, in 2009

On November 23, 2009, NPR announced that Kasell would retire from newscasting at the end of 2009. Kasell's final newscast aired on December 30, 2009.[4] Kasell continued to appear as the official scorer of Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! He also continued to work for NPR through fundraising and visits to member stations.[3]

During the August 7, 2010 broadcast of Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!, host Peter Sagal announced that Kasell had been voted into the National Radio Hall of Fame.[5][6][7]

For many years, Kasell was the announcer for the annual Kennedy Center Honors broadcast on CBS.

In March 2013, Kasell was named "North Carolinian of the Year" by the North Carolina Press Association.

On March 4, 2014, NPR announced that Kasell would be stepping down from his Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! duties.[8] It was later announced that his last show would be May 17, 2014; since then, he has been credited on-air as "Scorekeeper Emeritus."

On the morning of March 4, 2014 Radio World magazine sent an email to its subscribers in which it reported that Kasell had died. A correction and an apology to Mr. Kasell and his fans was sent almost immediately.

His final show on Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! was recorded on May 15, 2014 and broadcast on May 17, 2014. Stephen Colbert, Tom Hanks, Katie Couric, and President of the United States Barack Obama called in to the show to voice their appreciation for Kasell.

In September 2014 he published his memoir entitled Wait Wait...I'm Not Done Yet!


  • 1999 George Foster Peabody Award
  • 2010 National Radio Hall of Fame
  • 2011 Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters of the University of Southern Maine[9]
  • 2013 North Carolinian of the Year


  1. ^ "Carl Kasell". NPR. Retrieved 2011-04-11. 
  2. ^ Peralta, Eyder (March 4, 2014). "After 5-Decade Career, NPR's Carl Kasell Will Retire". NPR. Retrieved 24 May 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c "Carl Kasell: After 30 Years, A Chance to Sleep In". NPR. December 30, 2009. Retrieved 2017-07-11. 
  4. ^ Memmott, Mark (November 23, 2009). "NPR's Kasell Leaving Newscasts; Remains On 'Wait Wait' : The Two-Way". NPR. Retrieved 2010-11-03. 
  5. ^ "Opening Segment". Wait Wait Don't Tell Me. National Public Radio. Retrieved 7 August 2010. 
  6. ^ "Carl Kasell Knocks Out Howard Stern in Voting". Radio Business Report. Archived from the original on 6 August 2010. Retrieved 14 August 2010. 
  7. ^ "New Radio Hall of Famers: Cathy Hughes, Carl Kasell, Terri Hemmert, Ralph Emery". Archived from the original on 7 August 2010. Retrieved 14 August 2010. 
  8. ^ "Carl Kasell To Retire From 'Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!' This Spring" (Press release). NPR. March 4, 2014. Retrieved 2014-03-04. 
  9. ^ "USM to Present Honorary Degrees and Distinguished Achievement Awards at 131st Commencement on May 14". University of Southern Maine. May 11, 2011. Retrieved 2017-07-11. 

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