Bob Edwards, Longtime Host of NPR’s ‘Morning Edition,’ Dies at 76


Bob Edwards, the host of NPR’s “Morning Edition” for nearly a quarter-century, whose rich baritone and cool demeanor imbued his radio broadcasts with authority in reaching millions of listeners, died on Saturday. He was 76.

NPR, which announced his death on Monday, did not cite a cause or say where he died.

Mr. Edwards, a native of Louisville, Ky., who knew from an early age that he wanted to be in radio, joined NPR in 1974, during the Watergate hearings. That year, he became a co-host of “All Things Considered,’’ the public broadcaster’s signature evening newsmagazine of interviews, analysis and features. Its success led to the spinoff “Morning Edition” in 1979.

Mr. Edwards began as a 30-day temporary host of that program before going on to serve as its anchor for 24 and a half years.

“Bob Edwards understood the intimate and distinctly personal connection with audiences that distinguishes audio journalism from other mediums,” John Lansing, chief executive of NPR, said in a statement, “and for decades he was a trusted voice in the daily lives of millions of NPR listeners.”

Susan Stamberg, his co-host on “All Things Considered,” in an interview with NPR for its obituary about Mr. Edwards, described their oil-and-vinegar chemistry.

“We had five good — if rocky — years together, until we sort of got one another’s rhythm, because he was Mr. Cool, he was Mr. Authoritative and straight ahead,” she said. “I was the New Yorker with a million ideas and a big laugh. But we really adjusted rather well.”

She called him “the voice we woke up to” for a quarter century.

On “Morning Edition,” Mr. Edwards interviewed thousands of prominent figures in the news, including the singer Dolly Parton and the renowned baseball announcer Red Barber, with whom he conducted a popular regular segment of commentary.

Mr. Edwards was ousted from “Morning Edition” in 2004, a move that led to protests from listeners and even reached the reached the halls of Congress, where Senator Dick Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, rose on the Senate floor to object, calling Mr. Edwards “the most successful morning voice in America.”

Mr. Edwards’s discussed his departure on the air with his NPR colleague Scott Simon, saying “tastes change, and they have different ideas about the program and who should be doing it.” He was replaced by Steve Inskeep and Renee Montagne.

Robert Alan Edwards was born on May 16, 1947. He knew he had a voice for radio when, as a child, he would answer the phone and callers would say, “Hello, Mr. Edwards,” assuming he was his father, he told Mr. Simon.

Early in his career, he worked for a station in Indiana and in Korea for the Armed Forces Radio and Television, according to a biography on the Radio Hall of Fame, which inducted him in 2004. He won a Peabody Award in 2000 for “Morning Edition,” which the awards committee described as “two hours of daily in-depth news and entertainment expertly helmed by a man who embodies the essence of excellence in radio.”

After his final “Morning Edition” broadcast, on April 30, 2004, Mr. Edwards went on to host “The Bob Edwards Show” on SiriusXM Radio, which ran through 2014, and “Bob Edwards Weekend,” which was broadcast on public radio stations.

“He was a stickler for even the tiniest of details and lived by the philosophy that ‘less is more,’” his wife, Windsor Johnston, an NPR reporter and anchor, wrote on Facebook on Monday. “He helped paved the way for the younger generation of journalists who continue to make NPR what it is today.”

A complete obituary will appear soon.



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