Bob Edwards (pictured in 1989) began his career at NPR as a news anchor and then anchor Everything taken into account before you move Morning edition.
Max Hirshfeld for NPR
Max Hirshfeld for NPR
Max Hirshfeld for NPR
Bob Edwards, the veteran broadcaster and long-time host of Morning edition who left an indelible mark on NPR’s sound has died. He was 76 years old.
NPR’s Susan Stamberg says Edwards’ voice has become part of the morning routine for millions of Americans.
“He was Bob Edwards from Morning edition 24 1/2 years, and his voice was the voice we woke up to,” she says.
When listeners first heard this voice, they might have imagined a figure of great authority, an avenous journalist in a pinstripe suit. But that was it not Bob Edwards.
He was the consummate journalist
Margaret Low started working for the company in 1982 Morning edition Production assistant. She is now CEO of WBUR in Boston and served as senior vice president of news at NPR for three years. She says Edwards always came in the door promptly at 2:30 a.m., but he was laid back.
“He was tall and lanky and wore jeans, and if I remember correctly he almost always wore a flannel shirt that wasn’t tucked in.”
Low says that Edwards’ apparent nonchalance belied a seriousness – about radio, news and especially the art of writing. Like several of his NPR contemporaries, he studied writing at American University with former CBS journalist Ed Bliss.
“He always said that Ed Bliss sat on his shoulder when he wrote,” Low remembers.
In fact, Edwards’ office in Washington, DC, overlooked CBS News.
…he kind of set the bar for how we approach stories because he conveyed these stories with a certain simplicity but also with real depth and made them resonate in some way. And that lasted.
“I have this overall image of Bob sitting in his office on M Street and it would be dark outside because it would be the middle of the night, and he was looking out the window at CBS News,” Low says. “And he was typing on his manual typewriter with these really, really big keys, and they were clicking, clicking, clicking, and behind him you could hear… the AP and Reuters news.”
Edwards, says Low, was the consummate journalist.
“He was a total news expert and I think he understood the news very well,” she says. “And in a way he set the bar for how we approach stories because he conveyed these stories with a certain simplicity but also with real depth and made them resonate in some way. And that has proven successful.”
‘Mister. Cool’ and Red Barber
Edwards began his career at NPR as a news anchor and then anchor Everything taken into account with Susan Stamberg. She says their styles sometimes clashed.
“We had five good – if rocky – years together until we somehow found each other’s rhythm, because he was Mr. Cool, he was Mr. Authoritative and straightforward. I was the New Yorker with a million ideas and a big laugh.” . But we’ve actually adapted pretty well.”
Stamberg remembers Edwards for his humor, a quality he often showcased in his hundreds of interviews with newsmakers, authors, musicians and singers.
One of Edwards’ longest radio relationships was also a favorite with his listeners: his weekly conversation with sports broadcasting legend Red Barber.
Sports broadcaster Red Barber with NPR’s Bob Edwards in 1992. Edwards spoke with Barber every week Morning edition.
Edwards eventually wrote a book about his radio friendship with Barber, the first of three books he wrote, including a memoir, A Voice in the Box: My Life on the Radio.
Edwards’ approach set the tone for NPR
Edwards left NPR after the company decided to remove him as host of Morning edition. Despite strenuous protests from his many fans, Edwards completed his final show on April 30, 2004. He ended his tenure exactly as it began, by interviewing one of his radio heroes, Charles Osgood.
“You were the first person I interviewed for Morning editionand I wanted you to be the last one,” Edwards told Osgood on air.
Edwards subsequently hosted his own interview show on Sirius XM Radio and continued to be heard on many public radio stations Bob Edwards weekend. But Margaret Low says his contribution to NPR will never be forgotten.
“He kind of set the tone and the bar for all of us,” she says. “He understood the power and intimacy of our medium and captured the attention of millions upon millions of people who are still with us today.”