NPR’s Carl Kasell
November 17, 2008
On November 17, 2008 Cornerstone members and their guests gathered to hear NPR’s Carl Kasell speak over lunch at Petite Auberge Restaurant. Carl is the official judge and scorekeeper for NPR’s weekly news quiz show, Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! and also provides newscasts at the top of each hour throughout NPR’s daily newsmagazine Morning Edition, a role he has held since the program’s inception in 1979.
Carl entertained the group with some stories of growing up in Goldsboro, North Carolina and attending a high school where Andy Griffith was an English teacher! One audience member asked what happened to his southern accent. The answer was yes, he worked to get the North Carolina drawl out of his voice!
He also talked about getting up early to report the news — often fast-breaking news. He remembers especially the explosion of the shuttle Columbia, the Oklahoma City bombings, and September 11. On big news days, there is no time to write his reports on the computer. He is gathering the news as he reads it on the air. With any report, however, one source is not enough. Every report must be confirmed by a second source.
When he says he begins reporting the news at 5:00 a.m., Carl is often asked what time he gets up. He says he sets the alarm for 1:05 a.m. When asked why he doesn’t set it for 1:00 a.m. sharp, he says, because he likes to sleep late!
It was about 11 or 12 years ago, after cracking some jokes during a presentation at a meeting of public radio program directors, that Carl was approached to participate in Wait, Wait … Don’t Tell Me! He grabbed at the chance because the show was exactly the kind of radio he grew up listening to — shows like Truth or Consequences and People are Funny.
Overall, Carl was a very entertaining and gave the group great insight into working in the news and with NPR over his more than 50 year career.