Jax State turtle scientist appears on NPR quiz show “Wait, Wait… Don’t Tell Me”

Jax State
Dr. Grover Brown appeared on the August 5th show of NPR’s “Wait, Wait.. Don’t Tell Me (Grover Brown)

It’s not everyday a turtle scientist from Alabama appears on a national radio quiz show, but that’s what happened this past Saturday on the popular National Public Radio program  “Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me.” (Listen)

Grover Brown, a Jacksonville State University assistant professor of biology who is an expert on turtles of the Southeast U.S., participated in a segment on the show called Who’s Bill This Time.

A turtle scientist

Before the quiz started, the show’s host Peter Sagal asked Brown what he did for a living.

After Brown told Sagal he was a turtle scientist from a local college, the longtime host inquired:

Sagal: So maybe you can answer a question I’ve always had about turtles. How do they get in there (the shell)?

Brown: Well Peter, they are part of their shell. They just are born with it. 

Sagal: Wow! 

The Wait, Wait… Don’t Tell Me Quiz

After Sagal was enlightened about turtle biology, he handed the show over to Bill Kurtis, the show’s announcer and scorekeeper, to read three quotes from the week’s news. 

Brown proceeded to answer all three quotes/comments correctly:

  • Identifying the first quote coming from Former President Donald Trump
  • Answering a question why the pop singer Adele was expressing her frustration about the trend of fans throwing objects at performers
  • And correctly figuring out from a celebrity quote on Cameo, an app where customers can pay celebrities to record customized video messages for friends 

As a contestant who correctly identified who said the quote or what they were trying to say all three times, Brown will receive a voicemail from anyone on the show.

How Jax State’s Brown got on the show

Jax State
Dr. Grover Brown appeared on the August 5th show of NPR’s “Wait, Wait.. Don’t Tell Me (Grover Brown)

After hearing the August 5th show, The Bama Buzz caught up with Brown about his experience on the quiz show.

An avid runner, he listens religiously to the show on his Saturday morning runs on Spotify. On a wim he entered his name on the hotline the show advertises every week for contestants, and surprisingly they called and offered him a slot. 

Brown was proud to represent the state of Alabama and the work he does – turtle research – on the show.

“I have only ever heard one or two other people ever, I think in the past seven or eight years from Alabama,” he told The Bama Buzz. “I was actually quite proud to call in and be a representative of Alabama, in a very, very small way.”

Perhaps his only regret was not given time to talk more about turtles in Alabama.

Alabama is second to none in the whole world, in terms of the total number of turtle species. We are the epicenter globally for turtles.

Next up – NPR’s Science Friday?

After talking to Professor Brown about his turtle research, maybe he can make a call to another popular NPR program – Science Friday.  Wouldn’t that be a great “two-fer.”

Do you listen to Wait, Wait… Don’t Tell Me? Tell us your favorite part of the show on social media by tagging us at @bhamnow

Pat Byington
Pat Byington
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