Interview: NPR’s Peter Sagal

Larry Lawrence | May 16, 2013

If you’re a fan of National Public Radio (NPR) you probably have heard of Peter Sagal, the host of the network’s popular weekly show “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!” “Wait Wait” is a quiz program where guests test their knowledge against some of the best and brightest in the news and entertainment world while figuring out what’s real news and what’s made up.

Now here’s a quiz for you: Real or fake? One of Sagal’s jobs before he became a famous radio host was being a writer at the country’s largest motorcycle magazine.

If you guessed the story was real you are indeed a Sagal expert (okay, sure, this wouldn’t have been much of an article if it were fake). It would have been easy to miss Sagal’s moto-journalism career. It lasted just one summer.

In 1985 he was a student at Harvard University and decided to send letters out to nearly all the motorcycle magazines of the day inquiring about a paid internship. It was Cycle magazine that answered his letter and during the summer of ’85 Sagal suddenly found himself in Westlake Village, California, working with what is now considered a legendary staff at the defunct publication.

A lot has happened in Sagal’s life in the nearly 30 years since he wrote for Cycle, but he says his memories of that time are still vivid and he learned that being a motorcycle journalist, while sounding like the dream job, wasn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. Well “crack up” might not be the best choice of words. It turns out that’s exactly what Sagal did a few times on Cycle’s test bikes.


Larry Lawrence | Archives Editor

In addition to writing our Archives section on a weekly basis, Lawrence is another who is capable of covering any event we throw his way.