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March 24th, 2004

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03:08 pm - Of significant note for the NPR listeners in attendance
The Washington Post is reporting that Bob Edwards will be leaving Morning Edition at the end of April. No reason was specified, although the article mentions the show is "removing" our favoritest morning host ever (not counting Ted O'Brien and Bob "Boston's NYEWWS Station" Oakes locally. sup gr0g) Additionally, Edwards makes a rather bitter comment about how he'd like to stay but Morning Edition is "...not my candy store."
NPR executive vice president Ken Stern called the change part of a "natural evolution" that "had to do with the changing needs of our listeners." It was "a programming decision about the right sound," said Stern...
(Didja get that? That's the closest NPR will ever come to saying "We wanted something hipper, fresher, edgier...")

But the problem is that Edwards is neither unhip nor unfresh. Sure, he's been with Morning Edition since 1979 (he was only supposed to fill in for 30 days while the network tried retooling the show after a disastrous debut) but he's become the voice of the show. I'd say he's become the show, but the show's not ego-driven. He was just the voice.

The voice that you could hear coming from inside the warm car at 6:30 on an October morning as you scraped the layer of first frost off the car windows, your feet crunching on the frozen ground.

The voice that quietly underscored conversations with your stepfather every Friday morning as you drove 15 miles to school, waiting for the coffee in the travel mug to cool so you could actually sip it.

The voice you listened for when you tried finding NPR in an unfamiliar part of the country, twiddling around the bottom of the band ... fundie station ... farm report ... college station ... Bob Edwards. There he is, just where we left him. Always familiar, always a comforting radio presence.

And now he'll be gone, by an inexplicable decision made by management which apparently seeks to fix what ain't broke -- I mean, really. Replace a listener favorite? Replace the host of the number one morning show in America? With what? I mean, I'm not saying there won't be a long period of adjustment once a new host is named, but frankly, I don't know anybody who could capably step up and do such a good job as host for as long as Edwards did.

But then again, what do I care, I never wake up before 10 AM these days anyway.

(11 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:March 24th, 2004 02:13 pm (UTC)
That's terrible news! I started listening only a couple years ago, but I've come to recognize Bob as the identity of NPR.
[User Picture]
Date:March 24th, 2004 02:59 pm (UTC)
I wrote irate mail to them. Bob rules. I started listening to morning edition when I was a sophomore in college, and I like to think that I was still pretty hip to the scene back then.
[User Picture]
Date:March 24th, 2004 03:38 pm (UTC)
i used to wake up to Bob's voice every morning, before the stereo went goofy and the public radio stations don't come in anymore. that was how i knew it was 4 a.m. and i should get back to sleep.

i heard that they're making him a "senior reporter" after he leaves the show...whatever that means. my interpretation is that he'll be doing semi-annual stories on new flavors of dog food.
Date:March 24th, 2004 04:33 pm (UTC)
In other coverage of this story, I read that NPR is also creating a Managing Editor position for the news division. I wonder if the person who fills the role will actually be an editor of some sort, or one of those marketing-driven "consultants" who is brought on to help punch up -- "hipper, fresher, edgier" indeed -- a program.

The worst thing was an earlier Edwards remark. He said that [paraphrasing here] the usual idea is to retire gracefully before being shuffled out to pasture -- but he failed to do so. Which implies a few things: the move -is- a genuine surprise to him (which adds an additional element of scary); he -does- love the job he's about to lose; and NPR executives are obviously tetched in the head.
[User Picture]
Date:March 24th, 2004 05:42 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
Date:March 24th, 2004 06:32 pm (UTC)
Gah, that's awful. First Linda Wertheimer (not that Mee-chelle Norris is bad or anything, but...she's not Linda), and now Bob Edwards.
[User Picture]
Date:March 25th, 2004 07:31 am (UTC)

I think the UK equivalent would be taking Charlotte Green off Radio Four news. And Gods know I'd be upset enough if that happened.
[User Picture]
Date:March 25th, 2004 08:18 am (UTC)
does it seem to anyone else that NPR is trying to be more "moderate" to try to appease the rightwingers in Congress who want to defund them?

Not so much to be younger or hipper or edgier but to lose the liberal tag?

I keep hearing stuff that just enrages me - commentators from the Heritage Foundation and people from the USDA saying don't worry about Mad Cow just because we have no protections or testing in place - and I can't tell if it's NPR going to the right or that I've gone farther left.
[User Picture]
Date:March 25th, 2004 10:53 am (UTC)

He was "out" this morning

This save Bob Edwards petition may not have much sway on NPR management, but I'm sure Bob would be comforted to know how many people care.
[User Picture]
Date:March 25th, 2004 11:53 am (UTC)

Re: He was "out" this morning

If you write ombudsman@npr.org you get back a strained but polite thank-you letter obstensibly from Edwards, which unfortunately plays into the same spin the network has been putting on the decision all along (he's sad to go but glad to still play a part with "...NPR and the amazing program lineup." That's verbatim there.) And, it ends, as all official NPR correspondence must, with a pitch for support. It sounded very suspicious to me, but on the other hand very diplomatic.

And you're right about the petition -- it probably will have no bearing on the career change, but instead just put a number on the people who are genuinely affected/upset/sad about the loss.
Date:March 25th, 2004 07:14 pm (UTC)


"Call on Yom Kippur and the only person around is poor Bob Edwards."

--David Sedaris

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