Carl Kasell

Deb­by and I attend­ed a talk by Carl Kasell at IPFW last night. Kasell was the news announc­er for NPR’s Morn­ing Edi­tion for 30 years. He has been the offi­cial judge and score­keep­er for Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! since 1998. Being a late sleep­er* and hard­ly ever hear­ing Morn­ing Edi­tion, I most­ly know him from Wait Wait. It was clear that this was true for most of the audience.

Kasell spent a peri­od of time talk­ing before tak­ing ques­tions. Much of his talk was based on a few notes or just giv­en off the top of his head. Now and then he would return to a pre­pared speech from which he’d read a para­graph or two and then find a hook off of which to ad lib. The pre­pared speech was long ver­sion of the virtues of pub­lic radio and the impor­tance of the pub­lic’s sup­port. His read­ing of this was not all that good for a man who has been read­ing for a liv­ing for over thir­ty years. So that was strange.

I’m guess­ing he talked for thir­ty min­utes or more and answered ques­tions for awhile, but he real­ly did not have all that much to say. A few anec­dotes and talk about how this or that hap­pened, but only in the most super­fi­cial aspects.

When dis­cussing 9/​11, he said that he said that the first plane hit the north tow­er at 8:46 and a few moments lat­er he saw the replay of hit on the tele­vi­sion. This can not pos­si­bly be right, video of the first hit did not come to light for sev­er­al hours (maybe even a day or two). The man is 77 years old, so I guess I can for­give a mis­tak­en memory.

Lat­er in the talk he start­ed to tell us who would be on the pan­el of the up com­ing Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! He men­tioned Roy Blount, Jr. and Faith See­ley (sp?) but then he could not remem­ber the third name. I thought he was mock­ing Gov­er­nor Per­ry and start­ed to laugh (I believe you can hear me in the audio just after the 25 minute mark, but only for a moment). I imme­di­ate­ly per­ceived that he was not inten­tion­al­ly being fun­ny and that I seemed to be the only mem­ber of the audi­ence who was amused, so I sti­fled myself.

He answered all ques­tions before he wrapped things up.

*At one point, Kasell relat­ed how he once told some­one he awoke at 1:05 in the morn­ing. When asked why 1:05 as opposed to 1:00 he answered “I like to sleep in.”

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