© 2021 WOSU Public Media
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
News Partners

Remembering Carl Kasell, Longtime NPR Newscaster


Yesterday, we lost longtime MORNING EDITION newscaster Carl Kasell. He died at 84 from complications due to Alzheimer's. Karl worked at NPR for almost 40 years, including as scorekeeper for the quiz show Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me. I came to NPR in 2005 as a newspaper guy who'd never done radio. And Carl, this legend, would ask me questions in the elevator. He was warm, and he was funny. And here are some colleagues who knew him well, beginning with MORNING EDITION senior producer Barry Gordemer.

BARRY GORDEMER, BYLINE: I used to be a professional magician, and Carl was always fascinated with my magic tricks and learning magic. So I taught him a few things, and it turned into a magic act that we called Magic Edition. The highlight of our career - sewing Nina Totenberg in half.

KORVA COLEMAN, BYLINE: This is Korva Coleman, the MORNING EDITION newscaster. And Carl Kasell was elegant, sophisticated, clear in his expression. He knew exactly what he wanted to communicate, how he wanted to sound. And to that end, he was also a kind of a pain because he was so demanding. He demanded excellence from everyone around him, and he got it.

LYNN NEARY, BYLINE: This is Lynn Neary, and I worked with Karl as a newscaster when I first came to NPR. I was young and scared, but Carl was this incredible presence. He sat across from me, and he was so calm and so steady and so organized. And I could look up at Carl and feel like, you know, maybe someday I'll be that calm. I never got that calm.

WALTER RAY WATSON, BYLINE: It's Walter Ray Watson. Any day at work that he'd see me, he'd regard me by my name. Coming around a corner, stepping in or out of a studio, he'd say, hey, Walter Ray. His voice was warm and musical. He tapped into a joy and familiarity with people. He was always a colleague who took the time to recognize you no matter what else was going on, no matter what else was on his mind. Thank you, Carl.

(SOUNDBITE OF U137'S "LET ME KEEP THIS MEMORY") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.