It’s hard to imagine NPR without the distinctive baritone voice of Carl Kasell. But we’ll soon have to: The public radio service says that this spring he will retire from his duties as the Official Judge and Scorekeeper — and straight man — for the wickedly funny weekly game show Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!. He will become the show’s Scorekeeper Emeritus making occasional appearances while continuing to record custom voicemail greetings for the show’s winners. Kasell took the Wait Wait job in 1998, a big change of image for a broadcaster who has spent more than five decades in the business and was best known for his 30 years as a newscaster for NPR’s Morning Edition. “He was the voice people woke up to,” VP Programming Eric Nuzum says. “They opened their eyes, and for 30 years, Carl Kasell was there, reassuring them the world was still in one piece.” Kasell also contributed to daily newsmagazine Morning Edition from its inception in 1979 to 2009. In addition to his NPR work, Kasell has been the voice of the Kennedy Center Honors broadcasts. But he calls his tenure with the game show “my favorite time at NPR….I can honestly say I am the luckiest man around to be able to have worked at a job I love for so many years.” NPR is inviting fans to leave voicemails for Kasell at 1-888-Wait-Wait (1-888-924-8924; select the second option).