After 30 Years, NPR’s Kasell Retires from Newscast

NPR announced to staff and stations this morning that Carl Kasell will leave his newscaster job at the end of 2009. He will continue his second role as official judge and scorekeeper of the weekly NPR news quiz “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!”

Kasell has been in broadcasting for more than 50 years. He joined NPR as a part-time newscaster in 1975 and was on staff by 1977; he did the first newscast during the debut of Morning Edition in November 1979, and has been with the program since.

Staff memo announcing Kasell’s departure after the jump.

To: All Staff
Fr: David Sweeney, Managing Editor, News; Margaret Low Smith, Vice President, Programming

After 30 years of waking up at 1:05 a.m. to anchor the top of the hour newscast during Morning Edition, Carl Kasell has decided the time has come to sleep in. He will leave his newscast post at the end of this year… but happily for all of us he isn’t going far. Carl will continue to be the Official Judge and Scorekeeper for Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! the show that turned him from a newsman into a rock star! Carl will also continue to travel to stations around the country on NPR’s behalf.

Carl has raised more than a generation of listeners with his calm and authoritative newscast and has been the first voice many people heard each day. He also has been a teacher and role model for NPR newscasters… not only because of his skill and experience, but also because of his kindness, integrity, and professionalism.

Carl has walked into the newscast booth tens of thousands of times during his tenure. He was there the day that Iranian students took over the American Embassy in 1979…he was there when the Berlin wall fell in 1989 and he was there again when two jetliners slammed into the World Trade Towers in 2001. And he’s been there every week since.

Carl first walked through the doors of NPR in 1975 as a part-time newscaster…and was on the air in November 1979 at the inception of Morning Edition. In 1995, he hosted Early Morning Edition, which eventually led to Morning Edition’s early start time of 5 a.m. eastern. Carl is a proud member of the North Carolina Journalism Hall of Fame and a recipient of several major broadcast awards, including a Peabody which he shares with Morning Edition and another he shares with Wait Wait.

Please join us in congratulating Carl for his tremendous service. His last newscast will be on Wednesday, December 30th. We can all look forward to a fitting celebration early in the new year.