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Carl Kasell Signing Off From NPR News

He was there at the inception of ‘Morning Edition’ and also once hired Katie Couric as an intern

After three decades of waking up at 1:05 a.m., Carl Kasell will be able to get some more sleep in 2010.

He is retiring as the top-of-the-hour newscaster on from NPR’s “Morning Edition” at the end of the year. His last newscast is slated for 11 a.m. Eastern time on Dec. 30.

Kasell will continue to be judge and scorekeeper for the NPR and Chicago Public Radio-produced weekly quiz show “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!” He also will continue to travel to on NPR’s behalf.

The 75-year-old anchor was on the air in November 1979 at the inception of “Morning Edition.” In 1995, he hosted “Early Morning Edition,” which eventually led to “Morning Edition’s” early start time of 5 a.m. Eastern.

Kasell began at NPR as a part-time newscaster in 1975. At that time, he was working full-time at WAVA(FM), Arlington, Va., first as a news anchor and later as news director, in which role he hired Katie Couric as an intern one summer. Prior to the WAVA post, Kasell was morning DJ and newscaster at WGBR(AM), Goldsboro, N.C.

An English major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Kasell helped launch local station WUNC as an FM with fellow student Charles Kuralt in 1953, according to that station’s Web site. He’s a Tar Heels’ basketball fan, according to NPR.

The network plans “a fitting celebration” in the New Year and says no one has been named to succeed him on M.E.