April 17 (UPI) — Longtime NPR radio broadcaster Carl Kasell died in Maryland at the age of 84 on Tuesday, his family announced.
Kasell’s wife, Mary Ann Foster, said he died at an assisted-living center in Potomac, Md., as a result of complications from Alzheimer’s disease.
Born on April 2, 1934 in Goldsboro, N.C., Kasell dreamt of becoming a newscaster from a young age.
“I sometimes would hide behind the radio and pretend I was on the air,” Kasell said.
He began his career as a radio DJ for the late-night music show on his local station at the age of 16 and went on to become one of the first students to work for the University of North Carolina’s WUNC station during his time in college.
Kasell joined the military after graduating from college, but quickly returned to spinning records at a radio station in Northern Virginia when he returned, before a friend pushed him to join an all-news station.
NPR hired him as a part-time employee in 1975 and three years later he announced the news for the first broadcast of Morning Edition, which he would go on to host for more than three decades.
During his time hosting Morning Edition, Kasell reported on major world events ranging from the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis to the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
Following his decades of hosting Morning Edition, Kasell was given the opportunity to show off his comedic side as the official judge and scorekeeper for quiz show Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!
“Deep inside that serious newscaster persona was a huge piece of cured North Carolina ham,” host Peter Sagal once told The Washington Post.
In addition to willingly participating in the show’s many antics, Kasell also recorded more than 2,000 messages as prizes for Wait Wait listeners.
“The greatest thing about Carl was anything we came up with, he was game,” Sagal said.
Kasell is survived by his wife; a son from his first marriage, Joe Kasell; his stepson, Brian Foster; a sister; and four grandchildren.