Carl Kasell and Peter Sagal: newsman and showman


Carl Kasell says he has no concerns that his stint on “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” will somehow tarnish his reputation as a trusted newsman. And he knows he has a captive audience in Peter Sagal.

It takes a lot to get the MPR newsroom really excited (unless there’s free food, of course), but this morning the building was abuzz. It wasn’t the president stopping by, nor was there some major rock band coming in to perform. Nope, what had us all aflutter was getting to meet some of the rockstars of our own industry – namely Carl Kasell and Peter Sagal.

I had the pleasure of hosting Midmorning while they were in, and while their show is a topic I know pretty well, I have to say it was one of my more challenging hours of live radio. How to focus on your next question when you’re so enthralled with the answer to the last one?

Carl Kasell has the reputation of newsman, and Peter Sagall that of showman, but both of them are quite adept at either role. Last night Sagall conducted a fabulous interview of arctic explorer Ann Bancroft (which will air on Wait Wait this weekend) and Carl Kasell jogged onto the stage to slap the hands of the panelists like a pro football star. He obviously knows how to get the crowd worked up.

You can hear the Minneapolis Wait Wait on Saturday, but in the meantime, you might want to check out their hour on Midmorning. Sagal talked about the challenges of being funny yet balanced, and not bitter, and Kasell talked about his days with Charles Kuralt and hiring Katie Couric as an intern. Plus there’s tape of Kasell singing “What’s New, Pussycat?” for someone’s answering machine. Who can resist that?