'Signature Voice of NPR' Dead at 84

Carl Kasell died of complications from Alzheimer's disease
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 17, 2018 5:32 PM CDT

(Newser) – Newscaster Carl Kasell, a signature voice of NPR who brought his gravitas to Morning Edition and later his wit to Wait, Wait ... Don't Tell Me! has died, the AP reports. He was 84. NPR said Kasell died Tuesday from complications from Alzheimer's disease in Potomac, Maryland. He retired in 2014. Kasell's radio career spanned half a century, starting as a morning DJ and newscaster at WGBR-AM in Goldsboro, North Carolina. He spent a decade at radio station WAVA in Arlington, Virginia, going from morning anchor to news director. He was a newscaster for 30 years on Morning Edition until 2009. Kasell then became the official judge and scorekeeper of the Chicago-based show Wait, Wait ... Don't Tell Me! in 1998.

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"He was, and remains, the heart and soul of our show," Peter Sagal, the host of Wait, Wait, tweeted Tuesday; Kasell left his voice on hundreds of answering machines as part of that show's prize. NPR's Melissa Block said of Kasell: "A beloved voice. A radio man through and through. And the kindest colleague you could hope to find." Kasell joined NPR as a part-time employee in 1975 for Weekend All Things Considered and then announced the news on the first broadcast of Morning Edition in 1979 alongside host Bob Edwards. He loved radio from an early age, saying he would play his grandmother's records on a wind-up record player and take commercial breaks. He majored in English at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and helped inaugurate a news program at the university's WUNC station.

(Read more Carl Kasell stories.)

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