NPR's Carl Kasell, whose distinctive voice has informed Morning Edition listeners of the day's top stories since 1979, is stepping away from his role as a radio newscaster.
Kasell will remain a judge and scorekeeper for NPR's news quiz show, "Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!" But after his last newscast Dec. 30, he will get a chance to sleep in and will become an ambassador of sorts who visits public radio stations around the country.
Kasell, who has worked in broadcasting for 59 years, began his career as a high school student at a commercial radio station in his hometown of Goldsboro, N.C. He's been a newscaster on NPR's Morning Edition since the show began.
Kasell has spent most of his career working mornings.
"I love it," Kasell told MPR's Morning Edition. "It's nice because there aren't many people around, and you have the silence and solitude that you can sit down and think and concentrate on what you're doing."
Kasell said he had wanted to go into radio ever since he was in first grade. When he first worked in radio in the 1950s, he played 78-rpm records. Later, programs on a radio network were sent by a telephone line to individual stations instead of by satellite, and news reports from overseas sometimes came by short-wave radio that "sounded terrible," he said.
"Things have changed so much," he said. "Now it's all on the computer."
Kasell said he is happy he will not be leaving radio altogether and says his new role might include helping local public radio stations raise money. He said he also hopes to speak to listeners to "get their ideas and how they feel about what we do."
"I'm looking forward to meeting a lot of people I haven't met yet in the public radio community," he said.