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Carl Kasell Signs Off From 'Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me', Gets Goodbye Message From President Obama

By Jon Graef in Arts & Entertainment on May 17, 2014 4:30PM

Carl Kasell (left) with "Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me" host Peter Sagal in 2010. (Photo credit: Melody Kramer)

After a 50-year career in news, NPR broadcaster Carl Kasell officially announced his retirement earlier this year. This weekend marked Kasell's last show with NPR news quiz Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me, where he served as judge, scorekeeper and announcer. Kasell also provided voicemail introductions as prizes to listeners who won the show's quizzes. There are more than 2,000 Carl Kasell voicemails out there.

Kasell's last show was taped Thursday, and Tom Hanks, Katie Couric (a former intern of Kasell's who did pretty well for herself), Stephen Colbert, and no less than the leader of the free world himself, President Barack Obama, all taped messages bidding Kasell a bon voyage. [You can watch Obama's video message on NPR's Facebook page.]

Obama's earnest goodbye message has some pretty good zingers. "We trusted you to tell us what happened," Obama said. "And then, for some reason, you joined a show where Peter Sagal makes you read goofy limericks and imitate everyone from Britney Spears to Barack Obama." Obama also speaks of Wait, Wait's connection to Chicago, where the show is usually taped.

Full audio of Kasell's last show, which was taped in Washington D.C., is pending as of post time, but Wait, Wait host Peter Sagal went on Chicago Public Radio to talk about what listeners can expect.

Sounds like a hoot. Kasell had a profound career, and earned a well-deserved retirement. He'll be missed, but he'll still retain a title of 'scorekeeper emeritus' and will still do those voicemails. So don't fret too much.

Read Sagal's farewell to Kasell here.