A Tribute To Bob Edwards

Lafayette, LA – Bob Edwards, who has been the signature voice for NPR's Morning Edition for 25 years, will be re-assigned as a Senior Correspondent for NPR, effective April 30th, 2004. The sound of Morning Edition has been inseparable from Mr. Edwards's rich baritone since the show was launched in 1979. Morning Edition is the number one ranked morning show on radio, with approximately 13 million listeners. And that has played a huge role in NPR's success and that of it member stations, like KRVS.

The audience doubled for NPR overall in the last 10 years, Edwards said. Who else can say that? Considering the program's top ranking in the morning, he added, Stern, Imus, all those people are in our wake.

Last week, Edwards reminisced about how he got his Morning Edition job, before his regular 6 p.m. bedtime, from his home in Arlington, Virginia. He began working at NPR in 1974 as a newscaster and a co-host of All Things Considered. During these latter years, Edwards watched as a new show, which would eventually become Morning Edition, spent many months in development, then produced an atrocious pilot for member stations about 10 days before its scheduled debut. The stations hated it, so much, that NPR replaced the show's hosts and producers. They asked me to do Morning Edition' for 30 days while they looked for a host. The rest is history. He is someone supporters of public radio have come to know.

And listeners ought to be excited about the new direction for Morning Edition and that of NPR as a whole. Edwards has nothing but praise for NPR's journalism on March 23rd. The great thing about NPR is that everyone else is closing [foreign] bureaus, he said. TV news and newspapers are hurting, and commercial radio has stopped doing the news and we've been growing.

NPR's Renee Montaigne and Steve Inskeep will serve as interim co-hosts beginning in May. Their experience and insightful reporting for NPR ensures the quality of Morning Edition will remain, and grow. NPR is so much more sophisticated now than it was in 1979, Edwards said, If we listened to those [early Morning Edition ] tapes now, we'd wince.

For many NPR affiliate General Managers, Edwards was one of the networks iconic figures, and central to NPR's success. But few, if any, seemed worried about the change. Having Edwards in a different capacity is an exciting prospect, and embodies change. An element that makes Public radio successful and responsible to the needs of a growing audience.