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After 5-Decade Career, NPR's Carl Kasell Will Retire

Carl Kasell and Peter Sagal.
Tony Nagelmann
Carl Kasell and Peter Sagal.

After a five-decade career in broadcasting, Carl Kasell announced his retirement on Tuesday.

Carl will record his final broadcast for Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me!this spring. He will, however, remain "scorekeeper emeritus" for the show. Before becoming the official scorekeeper for the NPR news quiz show in 1998, Carl anchored the newscast for Morning Edition.

His voice was the first thing many of us woke up to and became synonymous with NPR. As Mark noted when he stepped down from NPR's Newscast unit in 2009, Carl brought "listeners the news of joyous events such as the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and tragedies such as the 9/11 attacks in 2001."

In a note to the newsroom, Eric Nuzum, vice president for programming at NPR, said Carl, 79, had been flying weekly to Chicago for the past 15 years and he was "ready for some serious R&R."

Nuzum went on:

"Carl's relationship with public radio audiences dates back to his 30 years as the newscaster for NPR's Morning Edition. He was the voice people woke up to. They opened their eyes, and for 30 years, he was there, reassuring them the world was still in one piece. In 1998 he was recruited to provide gravitas to NPR's new news-quiz, where his title, Official Judge and Scorekeeper, belied his key role as the show's straight man. Carl delighted in the role, and we all know the audience delighted in him.

" 'My favorite time at NPR has been Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me!It was loads of fun and gave me a chance to meet and talk to in person the audiences that I felt I had known for so many years on the air,' says Carl. 'I can honestly say I am the luckiest man around to be able to have worked at a job I love for so many years. It's truly been a joy for me.'

"In retirement, Carl will become Scorekeeper Emeritus of Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me!, and continue to record custom voice mail greetings for the show's lucky winners and continue to occasionally appear in the program. Thanks to the long-standing and much-coveted prize, more than 2,200 people have Kasell's voice on their home answering machines and cellphones — where he's performed everything from 'What's New Pussycat' to 'Rapper's Delight.' "

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.