Some mornings, though, the news breaks too quickly to prepare a script. Such was the case on Jan. 28, 1986, when Kasell paused before leaving NPR after work to watch the launch of the space shuttle Challenger on TV. The moment he saw the plume of smoke that foreshadowed the death of seven crew members, he doffed his coat and returned to the newsroom.
Similarly, Kasell kicked into high gear when the first of two airliners smashed into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. He says he doesn’t have time to get emotionally involved when reporting such tragedies, but admits, “It catches up with you when you go home.”
Kasell describes his personal life as a series of “naps and snacks.” After the 11 a.m. newscast, he goes home and sleeps a few hours, then wakes up to enjoy dinner or a movie with his wife before going to sleep again by 10 p.m. He rises not at 1 a.m., but 1:05, because, he quips, “I like to sleep in.”
Kasell looks forward to sleeping as late as 6:30 a.m., but has no intention of reining in his whirlwind routine.
“I’ll be around as long as they let me be here,” he says. “I don’t think I’ve worked a day in my life.”
Trish Nicholson is a senior editor at the AARP Bulletin.