The Curious Listener: Wait Wait... Pick Me! : NPR Extra Do you think you would be the perfect contestant on Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!? Find out how you can get on the show, at 'This is NPR.'
NPR logo The Curious Listener: Wait Wait... Pick Me!

The Curious Listener: Wait Wait... Pick Me!

Curious Listener 220 x 220
Katie Burk/NPR

If you've ever wondered how to be a contestant on Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! you should definitely read this installment of "The Curious Listener" from NPR Listener Services.

Many have tried and many have failed the challenge: answering three questions about the week's news in order to win the coveted prize of having Carl Kasell record the outgoing message on their voice mail or answering machine.

But, hey, at least they got to try, right. Well, turns out that getting your chance to be on the show isn't that complicated — and a little personality can add to the fun as you can see in today's example letter.

Hello Mr. Sagal,

I have been listening to Wait Wait.....Don't Tell Me! since it first started, it's my favorite (and no, I never told Ira Glass the same thing). In fact, I often listen to the show on both Saturday and Sunday.

I am a professor at Clemson University (yes, they really do have opportunities for advanced education in SC) and am a mycologist - I study fungi. I even discovered a new species of fungus while listening to NPR.

My name is Julia

I live in Clemson, South Carolina

My mobile phone number is *****

Please let me be on your show!

From Julia

Clemson, South Carolina

Dear Julia,

Thank you for contacting NPR.

We appreciate your interest in being a contestant on Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! If you have included your contact information (name, city and state, weekday daytime telephone number) and some information about yourself, you have already been added to our contestant database. Otherwise, please provide the necessary information using the contact form or call 1-888-Wait-Wait (1-888-924-8924) and you will be added to the contestant database.

Listeners who appear on the show are eligible to win the voice of Carl Kasell on the outgoing message of your home answering machine. To listen to messages Carl has previously recorded, visit

Thank you for listening, and for your continued support of public broadcasting. For the latest news and information, visit

NPR Services

P.S. Julia must have taken the response to heart, because a few weeks later we were listening to Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! and recognized the name of the audience contestant in the 'Who's Carl This Time?' game.

Are You Curious?
Katie Burk/NPR

Send your questions about the inner workings of NPR, something you heard during a program, or anything else NPR-related to NPR Listener Services. Your question and the answer might even end up on the This is NPR blog.