Bob Edwards

Bob Edwards

Robert Alan Edwards (born May 16, 1947 in Louisville, Kentucky) is an award-winning American public radio broadcaster. He was the first broadcaster with a large national following to join the field of satellite radio. Edwards is the host of "The Bob Edwards Show" on XM Satellite Radio and "Bob Edwards Weekend" distributed by Public Radio International to nearly 100 public radio stations. He gained fame as the first host of National Public Radio's flagship program, "Morning Edition".

Personal life and early career

Bob Edwards is married to Sharon Edwards and has two daughters, Eleanor and Susannah, and a stepson, Brean Campbell. He is a graduate of the University of Louisville and began his radio career at a small radio station in New Albany, Indiana. Afterwards, Edwards served in the U.S. Army, producing and anchoring TV and radio news programs for the armed forces from Seoul. Following his army service, he went on to anchor news for WTOP-AM, a CBS affiliate, in Washington, D.C. He also earned an M.A. in Communication from American University in Washington D.C. In 1972, at age 25, Edwards anchored national newscasts for the Mutual Broadcasting System. Edwards joined NPR in 1974. Before hosting "Morning Edition", Edwards was a co-host of "All Things Considered".

Host of "Morning Edition"

Edwards hosted NPR's flagship program, "Morning Edition", from the show's inception in 1979 until 2004. After 24-plus years with Edwards as host, Arbitron ratings showed that with 13 million listeners, it was the second highest-rated radio broadcast in the country, behind only Rush Limbaugh's AM show. Prior to his departure, he was incredibly popular among both listeners and critics.

When "Morning Edition" won a George Foster Peabody Award in 1999, the Peabody committee [ lauded Edwards] as

Edwards' skills as an interviewer have been widely praised. NPR's ombudsman, Jeffery Dvorkin, [ said] , "If I were his producer, I would think of Edwards as NPR's version of Charlie Rose." The New York Daily News [ called him] "an institution among "Morning Edition" listeners for his interviewing skills and his calm, articulate style." It is estimated that Edwards conducted over 20,000 interviews for NPR; his subjects ranged from major politicians to authors and celebrities. One fondly remembered feature from "Morning Edition" is his weekly call-in chats with retired sportscaster Red Barber. The chats were supposedly about sports, but often digressed into topics like the Gulf War, what kind of flowers were blooming at Barber's Tallahassee, Florida home, or other non-sport subjects. Barber would call Edwards "Colonel Bob", referring to Edwards' Kentucky Colonel honor from his native state. Barber died in 1992, and the following year Edwards based his first book, "Fridays with Red: A Radio Friendship" (ISBN 0-671-87013-0), on the weekly interviews.

Edwards' critics are few and far between, although the conservative weekly newspaper "Human Events" did [ complain] in 2003,

NPR is often accused of having a liberal bias, but Edwards himself is rarely subject to such criticism.

Controversial departure from NPR

On April 2004, NPR executives decided to "freshen up" up "Morning Edition"'s sound. Edwards was removed as host, replaced with Steve Inskeep and Renée Montagne, and reassigned as a senior correspondent for NPR News. The move took him by surprise. "I'd rather stay," [] he said, "but it's not my decision to make." NPR executives and spokespersons never fully explained the move, leaving many listeners confused. [ They did make some attempts to explain themselves.] According to NPR spokeswoman Laura Gross, "It’s part of a natural evolution. A new host will bring new ideas and perspectives to the show. Bob’s voice will still be heard; he’ll still be a tremendous influence on the show. We just felt it was time for a change." Executive Vice President Ken Stern also [ explained] the move. "This change [in 'Morning Edition'] is part of the ongoing evaluation of all NPR programming that has taken place over the last several years. We've looked at shows like "All Things Considered" and "Talk of the Nation" with an eye to how we can best serve listeners in the future." Stern later participated in an online chat with listeners at NPR's website, but only heightened their confusion and anger.

The decision to remove Edwards, made shortly before his 25th anniversary with the show, was met with much criticism by listeners. [ Jeffrey Dvorkin, NPR's ombudsman, reported] that the network received over 50,000 letters regarding Edwards' demotion, most of them angry. This is the largest reaction to one subject NPR has ever received, even more than its noted Middle Eastern coverage. [ Other journalists] , including ABC's Cokie Roberts and CBS' Charles Osgood, expressed dissatisfaction with the move.

His [ final broadcast] as the host was on April 30, 2004; [ his last Morning Edition interview] was with Charles Osgood, who had also been Edwards' first "Morning Edition" interview subject almost 25 years earlier. Coincidentally, the last show also included a segment about the last Oldsmobile, which rolled off an assembly line the day before.

During his final months at NPR, Edwards wrote his second book, "Edward R. Murrow and the Birth of Broadcast Journalism" (ISBN 0-471-47753-2), published in May 2004. The book, a short biography of Edward R. Murrow, brought some public attention to history's most noted broadcast journalist prior to the release of the 2005 movie "Good Night and Good Luck". NPR removed him from "Morning Edition" that spring rather than waiting for his 25th anniversary with the show in the fall, using the book tour to make a "clean break" rather than bringing him back for a final three-month stint.

Edwards decided not to remain at NPR as a senior correspondent, filing only one story in that role (an interview with Bob Dole about the Washington, DC World War II memorial). Three months after his departure from "Morning Edition", XM Satellite Radio announced that he had signed on to host a new program, "The Bob Edwards Show", for its new XM Public Radio channel.

External links for Bob Edwards' departure

* [ NPR Press Release on Edwards' Leaving Morning Edition]
* [ The "Boston Globe"'s initial story]
* [ MSNBC's initial story]
* [ "USA Today"'s initial story]
* [ The "Washington Post"'s initial story]
* [ The "New York Daily News"' initial story]
* [ NPR Omsbudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin's First Column on Edwards' Departure]
* [ Dvorkin Looks Back a Year Later]
* [ The "Washington Post": Edwards Speaks out a Year After His Departure]
* [ Public Radio International press release announcing "Bob Edwards Weekend" program]
* [ Video interview with Bob Edwards 2 years after leaving NPR]

XM Satellite Radio career

"They want to give me a program, so I can continue to host and be heard every day instead of occasionally, as I would have been at NPR," Edwards told the "Washington Post". He said the format would be "loose": "It'll be long interviews, short interviews, and then maybe departments... You've got to have the news... it's not going to be all features, yet it's not going to be the "Financial Times", either." The show's first broadcast was on October 4, 2004. Washington Post columnist David Broder and former CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite were Edwards' first guests.

While continuing his daily show on XM, Edwards returned to public radio stations in January 2006 with his show "Bob Edwards Weekend", produced by XM Satellite Radio and distributed by Public Radio International. A September 22, 2005 press release from PRI states, "Bob Edwards Weekend" will provide PRI listeners with an opportunity to sample some of the astute commentary and intriguing interviews offered to XM subscribers each weekday on "The Bob Edwards Show"." This was the first time that a satellite radio company provided programming to over-the-air terrestrial radio.

In 2006, "The Bob Edwards Show" received "The Deems Taylor Award" from "ASCAP".

In 2006, and again in 2007, Bob's program received a Gabriel Award from the Catholic Academy for Communication Arts Professionals. They were Edwards' third and fourth Gabriel Awards, but the first ever given to a satellite radio program. In 2007, the show received the National Press Club's Robert L. Kozic Award for Environmental Reporting for the documentary, "Exploding Heritage," about mountaintop-removal coal mining. That program was also honored with a Gabriel Award, a 2006 New York Festivals Gold World Medal, and an award from the Society of Environmental Journalists.

In 2008, "The Bob Edwards Show" received an Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio-Television News Directors Association and a New York Festivals/United Nations Gold Award for the documentary, "The Invisible--Children Without Homes." "The Invisible" also was honored by the Journalism Center for Children and Families and by the Catholic Academy for Communication Arts Professionals.

In November 2004, Bob Edwards was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame. He continues to offer verbal support for National Public Radio and helps local public radio stations with their fundraisers.

Subscriptions to and individual episodes of "The Bob Edwards Show" are available for a fee at []

Edwards is a national vice president of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), and a board member of the Albert Shanker Institute.

He holds honorary degrees from the University of Louisville, Spalding University. Willamette University, Grinnell College, DePaul University, the University of St. Francis and Albertson College, (now the College of Idaho).

External links

* [ The Bob Edwards Show]
* [ The Bob Edwards Show schedule on XM Satellite Radio]
* [ NPR Tribute to Bob Edwards]
* [ MSNBC on Edwards' XM Show]
* [ The "Washington Post" on Edwards' XM Show]
* [ XM Press Release Announcing Edwards' XM Show]
* [ An Interview with Edwards]
* Audio Interview on The Sound of Young America: [ MP3 Link]
* [ The Bob Edwards Show Discussion Forum]

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