How do you get Carl Kassell’s voice on your home answering machine?

Mods: This is a factual question, but I put it in CS, as it deals with NPR. If I am mistaken as to its appropriate forum, please correct.

If you are an NPR junkie like me, then you must be familiar with “Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me”, NPR’s Saturday morning quiz show. A funny and interesting hour, WWDTM consists of host Peter Sagal, newsman Carl Kassell, three panelists (Mo Rocca and Paula Poundstone are my favorites), a celebrity caller (last week: Phyllis Diller!), and various contestants. The contestants play a series of games (i.e. finish the limerick, identify the fake news story, identify the quote, etc.) in which they are given three questions. Get two right, and you get a prize: Carl Kassell’s voice on your home answering machine.

My question: how does that happen? Obviously, Mr. Kassell doesn’t travel to the person’s home to record the greeting. And I doubt people mail their home answering machine to him. So what is the process? Does he record something that can be downloaded? What if you have an old answering machine which doesn’t sync up with the internet? What if, like me, your only phone is your cell, meaning he would need possession of the phone to record the voicemail greeting?

How does this awesome prize get delivered?

Is it possible that getting his voice on your machine just means he’ll leave you a message. . .and they’re being coy about it?

FWIW, I went to see a taping of the show one time. It was pretty fun.

I’m pretty sure they say he’ll leave the message on your home answering machine. I’ve even heard them make a joke about it, occasionally. One young Vancouver girl was all excited after she won, saying she always wanted “a Carl Kassell”, and Peter Sagal responded with, “he doesn’t actually come to your house.”

Most home answering machines have a remote function that allows you to call and change your greeting. After Carl does this, simply change your password.
My guess is cell pone users are out of luck, as there is no home answering machine involved.

I’m sitting here giggling at the image of Carl cackling with evil glee while he retrieves some poor schmuck’s messages. :slight_smile:

Go to the show’s website and you’ll find a page with samples of messages Carl has recorded for winners.

Yes, but how do they get those messages on the phones?! It seems to me that a digital download is most likely.

I’m sure they’d do one for a cellphone. They seem pretty relaxed.

BTW, I went to a taping in Monterey, and it’s a lot of fun. They sometimes rerecord answers to get better jokes, but some of the panelists were damn sharp first time out.

Or just mailing a CD or tape. Most folks have a cd player that could record into a phone microphone the old-fashioned analog way.

Even very old cellphones, with real tapes, allowed you to access your messages remotely, and gave access to the full menu. If worse came to worst, WWDTM could send a tape you could play while recording the message.

ETA: Damn you TimeWinder. And it shows how old I am. Tape indeed.

The ones with built in tapes were the diesel powered cell phones, right? I think that was just before my time. :slight_smile:

My fiance and her ex won Carl’s voice on their answering a few years ago. He called them ahead of time and asked them a bunch of questions about themselves and things that they enjoyed doing, and then they gave him the number/password so that he could record the outgoing message remotely.

The message he left was something like, “Jo and Mike aren’t here…they’re probably out white water rafting or going to the movies…etc etc”

I got nothin’.

But I love the show. :slight_smile: And I don’t have a home answering machine.