NPR newscaster Carl Kasell, who worked as a radio personality for more than 40 years, most recently on quiz show “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me,” died Tuesday from complications from Alzheimer’s disease in Potomac, Md. He was 84.
NPR journalist Don Gonyea tweeted that it was “a sad day at NPR,” writing he was “a GREAT journalist, he gave this network early credibility. Later, on WaitWaitDon’tTellMe the world learned something we already know — just how hysterically funny he is! RIP Carl. Godspeed.”
Gonyea also tweeted an image of buttons featuring Kasell’s face and one that said “Carl Kasell is my press secretary.”
Kasell joined the public radio network in 1975, and four years later became the voice of NPR’s “Morning Edition,” helping establish it as a force in news broadcasting. He worked on “Morning Edition” for 30 years, reading top-of-the-hour news updates throughout the day and covering major events like the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis and the 9/11 attacks.
In 1998, Kasell took on a lighter tone when he joined “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!,” a comedic news quiz show where he served as a the straight man to host Peter Sagal. The segment went on to become an NPR staple and one of the network’s most popular shows. He retired from newscasting duties in 2009 and stepped away from “Wait Wait” in 2014, recording his last episode with special guests Barack Obama, Tom Hanks and Katie Couric. That same year Kasell also published his memoir “Wait Wait… I’m Not Done Yet!”
The winning contestant on the “Wait Wait” show was famously awarded “The voice of Carl Kassell on your home answering machine!”
After growing up in North Carolina, Kasell started working in radio at 16, DJ-ing a late-night music show on his local station, and continued to pursue his passion at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is survived by his wife Mary Ann Foster, as well as son Joe Kasell, stepson Brian Foster and four grandchildren.