Carl Kasell

American Radio Personality and Gameshow Host

Carl Kasell


Carl Kasell, a beloved radio personality and longtime NPR newsman, became a household name as the official judge and scorekeeper on “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!” This expansive biography delves into Kasell’s early life, his distinguished career in journalism, and his endearing role on the popular NPR news quiz show, showcasing his wit, warmth, and lasting impact on the world of radio.

Early Life:

Born on April 2, 1934, in Goldsboro, North Carolina, Carl Kasell discovered his passion for radio at an early age. Growing up in a time when radio was a primary source of information and entertainment, Kasell developed a love for storytelling and connecting with audiences through the airwaves. Little did he know that this early fascination with radio would set the stage for a remarkable career.

Journalistic Career:

Carl Kasell’s journey into journalism took root during his college years at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After graduating, he embarked on a distinguished career in broadcasting, becoming a familiar voice on the airwaves. Kasell’s commitment to journalistic integrity and his ability to communicate complex stories with clarity and authenticity earned him respect in the field.

His career at NPR began in 1975, where he contributed to various news programs and established himself as a reliable and authoritative voice. Kasell’s reporting covered a wide range of topics, from national politics to cultural events, and his distinctive baritone became synonymous with the trusted journalism NPR is known for.

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Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!:

While Carl Kasell had already made a significant mark in the world of journalism, his most iconic role came in the form of a comedic quiz show. In 1998, Kasell joined “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!,” NPR’s satirical news quiz program. Initially brought on as a scorekeeper and judge, Kasell’s deadpan delivery and good-natured humor quickly turned him into a fan favorite.

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As the show’s official scorekeeper, Kasell’s role was not just limited to tallying points. His deadpan announcements of incorrect answers and humorous interjections became integral to the show’s comedic rhythm. The chemistry between Kasell and the panelists, as well as host Peter Sagal, added an extra layer of entertainment to the quiz format.

Kasell’s Corner:

One of the standout segments on “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!” was “Kasell’s Corner,” a segment dedicated to Carl Kasell’s unique voice and wit. In these segments, Kasell showcased his comedic chops, delivering fake news stories and participating in humorous exchanges with the panelists. His ability to seamlessly transition from serious journalism to lighthearted comedy contributed to the show’s appeal.

Legacy and Impact:

Carl Kasell’s legacy extends far beyond his contributions to journalism and his role on “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!” His distinctive voice, warm demeanor, and genuine love for storytelling endeared him to audiences worldwide. Kasell became a cultural icon, representing the best of public radio — informative, entertaining, and always delivered with a touch of humanity.

His impact on “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!” and the world of radio is immeasurable. Kasell’s influence went beyond the quiz show format; he became a symbol of the enduring power of radio to inform, engage, and uplift. His retirement from “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!” in 2014 marked the end of an era, but Kasell’s legacy continues to resonate through the airwaves.


Carl Kasell’s journey from a radio enthusiast in North Carolina to a revered journalist and beloved scorekeeper on “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!” is a testament to his passion for the medium. His career, marked by integrity, humor, and an unwavering commitment to storytelling, has left an indelible mark on the history of radio. Carl Kasell’s voice may no longer grace the airwaves, but his impact continues to echo in the hearts of those who had the pleasure of hearing him.