American Radio Star Dies at Age 84 After Lifelong Career

April 17, 2018Apr 17, 2018

Carl Kasell was an authoritative news reporter for more than three decades, presenting the news during the mornings for NPR News. Now he has passed away at the age of 84, according to NPR. 

Kasell was known for his sense of humor, which he revealed to his listeners later into his career after already establishing himself as an authoritative figure in the world of news reporting. As he got older, however, Kasell eventually developed Alzheimer's disease, which he struggled with for some time before passing away. 

NPR writes that Kasell had always wanted to be a newscaster, even when he was a small child. While growing up, Kasell recalled hiding behind the radio and pretending like he was on the air. Years later when he would eventually find himself as a news anchor, it would be a dream come true. 

He would also play with his grandmother's wind-up Victrola and her collection of records. He would sit there and play the records, and at times, he would put commercial between them. And he would do a newscast in between the songs in the same way he heard newscasters do on the radio. 

By the time he was 16 years old, Kasell became a real radio guy, DJ-ing a late-night music show on a local radio station. 

Soon thereafter, while a student at the University of North Carolina, Kasell was one of the first students to work at the school's brand new station. Although he took a brief break to serve in the military, he came back home to work for his old station Goldsboro, before then taking a job at an all-news station.

"I kind of left the records behind," Kasell said, according to NPR. "It came at a time when so much was happening; we had the Vietnam War, the demonstrations downtown in Washington, the [Martin Luther King] and Bobby Kennedy assassinations. And so it was a great learning period even though [there were] bad times in there."

Later in life, Kasell became the official judge and scorekeeper of the weekly news quiz show "Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!"

During the August 7, 2010 broadcast of this show, host Peter Sagal announced that Kasell had been voted into the National Radio Hall of Fame. During his last episode, figures like Stephen Colbert, Tom Hanks, Katie Couric, and President Obama all called into the show to voice their appreciation for Kasell. 

On top of entering the National Radio Hall of Fame, Kasell was also awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Southern Maine. He was also declared the North Carolinian of the Year in 2013. 

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