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Ask Chicagoist: What's Carl's Itinerary?

By Thales Exoo in Miscellaneous on Jul 25, 2007 5:00PM

Dear Ask Chicagoist,

I know you guys like talking about "Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me" and all other things NPR, so perhaps you can help me with something that perplexes me. How is it that in the morning when I'm drinking my coffee I hear Carl Kasell giving me the news -- "from Washington" -- and on the weekend he's yucking it up over on "Wait, Wait"? Yes, I understand how planes work, but the guy's 93 or something, right? Does he ever rest? Or is he lying about the Washington DC thing?


2007_07_askcarl.jpgHi Frank.

Lying about the Washington, D.C. thing? Have you been watching too many episodes of "The Daily Show"? As a general rule of thumb (or, OK, as an NPR rule of thumb), if newscasters say they're somewhere, that's where they are. Including the 73-year-old with the particularly confusing last name to spell, Carl Kasell (not quite 93 yet). And so what if we love "Wait, Wait ... Don't Tell Me"?! Can you really blame us?

Carl's definitely got a busy schedule. He works Monday through Wednesday from about 2am to 11am at NPR studios in Washington writing and then doing the newscast every hour during "Morning Edition." Then on Thursday he hops a plane to Chicago to appear with his unexpected sense of humor as the official judge and scorekeeper on "Wait, Wait." Since he lives with his wife in Washington, we'll assume he makes it back there in time to share the weekend with her before doing it all over again.

He's been on NPR since 1975, and according to interviews, he has no desire to slow down or "retire" from NPR as of now, so you can expect to hear his voice gracing your airwaves (and perhaps your answering machine) for years to come, flying from D.C. to Chicago and back again nearly every week.

Of course everyone has detractors -- we found it interesting the number of people spending time complaining about Carl's voice. The exact voice we think is completely mesmerizing. Maybe we like hearing quirks in voices, but Carl even has linguists going after him and the unusual way he pronounces the "long O vowel sound."

What do you think of Carl's voice?

Either way, as Mo Rocca once said, "Carl Kasell is a god. When he starts speaking and everyone recognizes the voice, women in their 40s and 50s revert to their former teeny-boppers-at-the-Beatles-concert selves."

Image via Michaela Murphy

Who's Carl this time? Need some advice? Email ask(at)chicagoist(dot)com.