By Chris Day
STILLWATER, Okla. —
What does a doctorate in accounting from Oklahoma State University get you?
The chance to play “Who is Bill this time” on the NPR news quiz “Wait, Wait ... Don’t Tell Me!” and have announcer Carl Kasell’s voice deliver the message greeting on a cell phone or answering machine.
Ask Eric Rapley.
Approximately two weeks after sending an email expressing his interest in participating in one of the news quizzes, “Wait, Wait” representatives called May 29, telling him he would be a contestant for the May 30 taping. The show aired Saturday on NPR affiliates across the nation.
“I just got on their Webpage and emailed them and said I wanted to be a partcipant and ... I put in parenthesis ‘actually I just want Carl as my voice mail’, and I said I had just got my doctorate in accounting. I think that was unique enough because the contacted me.”
Rapley was the first contestant on Saturday’s show. Host Peter Sagal used Rapley’s call as a chance to introduce the panel — Roy Blount Jr., Amy Dickinson and Ken Jennings.
The quiz was next. Newsman Bill Kurtis, subbing for Kasell, read three quotes from the week’s news and Rapley correctly identified the subjects of all three quotes.
When Sagal asked Kurtis how Rapley did, Kurtis said, “Eric did Oklahoma State proud. Eric was perfect.”
The “Wait, Wait” experience was memorable, Rapley said, but it wasn’t the high point of his five years at Oklahoma State working on his master’s and doctorate.”
“It was certainly fun being on there. ... Two of my kids were born here so it’s hard to say that’s going to be the highlight of my time here.”
He hasn’t decided on the wording for Kasell to use on the cell phone greeting, Rapley said. His brother, a medical doctor, suggested something generic so he could use it to.
“I still have to figure out exactly what I’m going to (have him) say,” he said.
The OSU doctorate has landed Rapley something more tangible than his appearance on “Wait, Wait” — a job. Rapley will be an accounting professor at the University of North Texas this fall.
He will have to tell his intermediate accounting students why Kasell’s voice is on his voicemail.