UNC remembers alumnus Carl Kasell, longtime NPR newscaster

By Anna Overton

Carl Kasell (right) and Charles Kuralt speak at the WUNC radio dedication ceremony in 1953. The two future network broadcasters both began their journalism careers as UNC students. (WUNC radio photo)

Carl Kasell died Tuesday from complications of Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 84.

Kasell attended UNC in the 1950s and was the “Morning Edition” anchor on NPR for 30 years. As a student, he helped launch WUNC radio and worked at WCHL.

In a 2013 interview with Carolina Connection, Kasell talked about his years at UNC.

“I never graduated because I was drafted,” Kasell said. “They gave me four years to do what I had to do in school. But I had to drop out a couple of times and go home and work, make some money to pay the bills here.”

Kasell began his lifelong career at the age of 16, hosting a late-night music show on his local station in Goldsboro.

In addition to his newscast duties on “Morning Edition,” he served as the official judge and scorekeeper of the weekly news quiz show, “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!” He retired in 2014.

Kasell recorded messages for winners and sent them to their answering machines as a prize. He’d personalize each message to the recipient, often including songs and jokes. He recorded more than 2,000 of those messages.

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