Music + Culture
9:12 am
Thu May 15, 2014

What It's Like To Hear Carl Kasell Say Your Name

The power of Carl Kasell goes beyond his velvety voice.
The power of Carl Kasell goes beyond his velvety voice.
Credit Katie Burk / NPR

Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! will say goodbye to Carl Kasell on May 17th. He will no longer be the show's official scorekeeper, but will continue to record voice mail greetings for show winners. And those lucky winners will experience the giddy feeling of hearing Carl Kasell say their name.

I remember his name lanyard hanging between the lapels of his khaki sports coat. I remember him wearing a golden tie clip. Classy.

I was a young public radio host when Northwest Public Radio sent me to an NPR convention in Seattle. Seeing so many public radio personalities was amazing. I gave Ira Glass an awkward hug, which is a story for another time. I chatted with Terry Gross and had lunch with Bob Edwards. A highlight was meeting Carl Kasell. He was checking-in, getting his name tag and bag of convention goodies. Someone elbowed me and said, "That's Carl Kasell! He's like a big teddy bear - everyone at NPR says he's like a grandfather."

My meeting with Carl was quick and brief. Unlike Peter Sagal's meeting, which was half-a-year after they started rehearsing for Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! But just like Sagal's experience, having Carl say your name was memorable.

"Hello, Sueann," he said with a smile.

I remember his name lanyard hanging between the lapels of his khaki sports coat. I remember him wearing a golden tie clip. Classy.

Host Peter Sagal says he knew Carl Kasell (pictured) had far more up his sleeve than his inimitable gravitas...Carl performs magic tricks! Seen here disappearing behind his own mask!
Host Peter Sagal says he knew Carl Kasell (pictured) had far more up his sleeve than his inimitable gravitas...Carl performs magic tricks! Seen here disappearing behind his own mask!
Credit Wait Wait Don't Tell Me / NPR

Hearing him say my name made me feel important and gleeful.

You start to form an impression of a person's personality when they say, "Hello." Carl Kasell's voice sounds trustworthy and reassuring...because he is! NPR reporters and hosts will continue to exemplify those characteristics in personality and voice, but no one will say my name quite like Carl Kasell did.