Bob Edwards, the veteran broadcaster and longtime host of Morning Edition who left “an indelible mark on NPR’s sound,” has died, reports NPR. He was 76 years old.
NPR’s Susan Stamberg says Edwards’ voice became part of the morning routine for millions of Americans. “He was Bob Edwards of Morning Edition for 24 1/2 years, and his was the voice we woke up to,” she says.
Edwards studied writing at American University with former CBS journalist Ed Bliss. “He used to say that Ed Bliss sat on his shoulder as he wrote,” recalls Margaret Low, who served for three years as NPR’s senior vice president for news.
Edwards’ D.C. office overlooked CBS News. “I have this total 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 faced the window over CBS News,” Low says. “And he would be typing on his manual typewriter with these really, really big keys, and they would go click, click, click, and behind him you would hear … the AP and Reuters wires.”
Edwards started his career at NPR as a newscaster and then hosted All Things Considered with Stamberg. She says their styles sometimes clashed.
“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. I was the New Yorker with a million ideas and a big laugh. But we really adjusted rather well.”
Stamberg remembers Edwards for his humor, a quality that was often on display in his hundreds of interviews with newsmakers, authors, musicians and singers.
According to NPR: :One of Edwards’ longest-running radio relationships was also one of his listeners’ favorites: his weekly conversation with sports broadcasting legend Red Barber.
“Edwards eventually wrote a book about his radio friendship with Barber, the first of three he authored, including a memoir, A Voice in the Box: My Life in Radio.
“Edwards left NPR after the company decided to remove him as host of Morning Edition. Though his many fans protested mightily, Edwards closed out his last show on April 30, 2004. He ended his tenure just as it started, by interviewing one of his radio heroes, Charles Osgood.”
“You were the first person I interviewed for Morning Edition, and I wanted you to be the last,” Edwards told Osgood on air.