Carl Kasell is a fake… friend

I’m a fan of NPR’s Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me, a weekly news quiz hosted by Carl Kasell. The usually funny show features C- and D-list celebrities as well as audience callers answering questions about the week’s news. The prize is having Carl record the message on your answering machine. (It may be a nod to NPR’s demographic that it’s not on your voicemail.)

As I was browsing my Facebook network, I noticed Carl on the profile page of one of my friends. Just for grins, I decided to see if I could get Carl to friend me. To my surprise, Carl and I were friends later than day. I quickly discovered that Carl’s profile page is mainly a marketing page for WWDTM.

Unlike others in the media, Carl’s producers seem to be doing the work. Once I got past my initial disappointment that the 73-year-old NPR host wasn’t updating his status on Facebook, I was drawn in by how effectively the show’s producers are using Carl’s Facebook profile as a marketing tool. They post guests for upcoming shows as notes and pictures from show tapings. You can also listen to a podcast right on Carl’s page. I also found that of Carl’s 624 friends, 5 are also my friends.

Carl’s wall is full of admiration from fans including Katie O. who writes, “I love everyone at Wait Wait especially you Mr. Kasell! You make my long school weeks bearable.” Another posted a limerick in honor of this week’s guest, Patrick Fitzgerald:

A Law School Girl’s Heart Throb
P-Fitz Must Fend Off The Mob
As A Prosecutor He’s Special
In the Hot Seat Tonight He Will Dwell
We Can’t Wait for this Week’s ‘Not My Job!’

Audience members uploaded pictures from this week’s show in Chicago’s Millennium Park and tagged them to Carl’s profile. Other fans have hugged, thrown sheep at, tickled and chest bumped Carl. (Carl has responded by buying drinks, taking sexy back, goosing and throwing sheep.)

As the illustration below shows, some of Carl’s Facebook fans are clearly outside of the NPR demographic. It’s a great way for the show to connect with that audience.

Graffiti from Carl Kasell’s wall

About Rakesh Agrawal

Rakesh Agrawal is Senior Director of product at Amazon (Audible). Previously, he launched local and mobile products for Microsoft and AOL. He tweets at @rakeshlobster.
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2 Responses to Carl Kasell is a fake… friend

  1. M says:


    Carl does help run his page, but the producers who were already on Facebook know about the various applications to add and whatnot.

    And he will do voicemail. When you win, you receive a CD with his voice and can put it on whatever medium you choose.

    producer, WW

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