The day I met Carl Kasell in 1998, he reached out and said my name. And then he said it again. I think he knew how exciting it is for all of us that you hear name of this voice and he wanted to give me a present.
I met Carl when he was in his early 60s, an institution in the news industry, at an age when he could think about retirement. But instead he started a second career.
The intro waiting for the first show to wait
Carl became the official judge and secretary for Waiting to wait … Do not tell me! We needed him on the show because Carl Kasell was involved It was serious, it was important, it was NPR! In fact, for nearly 20 years, the only award we ever offered on our show was Carl's voice, on the winner's voicemail.
Imagine a man of my class being awarded the prize
But once he had the chance, Carl dropped his serious newscaster, because what he really was and really wanted to be was funny.
I live alone with pebbles
Carl was born and raised in North Carolina and was able to whip up that southern charm at will, with time for all and never a sharp word for anyone, not even in the 16 years I knew him , He was friendly to the bone.
He was a devoted and loving husband of his first wife, who died shortly before I met him. A few years later he met Mary Ann Foster, who loved adventure and travel as much as he did – which he knew as they met in front of the Monkey Cage at the London Zoo. To make a wedding present, Mary Ann bought them matching kayaks that they used when they were not traveling around the world in Virginia. And wherever he went, Carl told me with some pleasure that people would recognize him. And on request he would say her name.
But of all the reasons I loved him, the most important thing was how much Carl enjoyed himself. He was a born broadcaster who loved his listeners as much as she loved him.
Carl was never joking about a joke, if there was one.
He directed his last episode of Wait Wait in 2014. I told the crowd at the Warner Theater that night that we wanted to send Carl by just making a good radio show.
Whereupon Carl replied, "Why, shall we begin now, Peter?"
Carl then retired, but the people who had grown up with his voice in Morning Edition and in Wait Wait never forgot him. His fans were everywhere, from truckers listening to his first morning show at five o'clock in front of the former President of the United States:
Recently Wait Wait recorded a show at the Wolf Trap Amphitheater in Virginia and The audience was overjoyed to learn that Carl was present.
He was grateful for every day he could speak to you. And we were grateful for every day we could spend with him.