His wife Windsor Johnston told Current that he died of congestive heart failure and bladder cancer that had spread.

“Up until the day he died,” she said, Edwards listened to NPR. Wait, Wait… Don’t Tell Me! was played on his last day, and the original Morning Edition music was played for him. She said that he didn’t say much that day but smiled and cried when she played the song.

Johnston, an NPR writer and newscaster, said, “He was so proud of Morning Edition and that he helped make it what it is and what it is still today.”

Edwards started at NPR in 1974 as a newscaster and later became a co-host of All Things Considered. He hosted Morning Edition from 1979 until 2004, when he was moved to a different job, which made fans angry.

“One of the great voices and talents of this network’s history,” NPR CEO John Lansing said Tuesday at a meeting of the NPR board. “Bob helped make NPR sound the way it does.” He knew that radio and audio journalism are different from other forms of journalism because they allow for a close and personal relationship with listeners. He helped start and shape what would become our network’s most-listened-to show, Morning Edition, during his 24-and-a-half years as host.

Susan Stamberg told Current that Edwards had never been a host before he started working with her as co-anchor of All Things Considered.

She said that Edwards “didn’t know how to do an interview and just sort of didn’t get it” when he first came on the show. “… He did have that voice, though. And I have to say, that voice and love of news and radio really came through.”

“Such a warmth to it” in his words. “That was so deep and… real,” she said. “… He wasn’t easily upset. When news came in, he was very steady.

Edwards “boosted our audiences because everybody wakes up, everybody wants an alarm clock,” she said of his time as host of Morning Edition. “And Bob set the alarm.”

I believed what Bob said.
Jack Mitchell, who was ATC’s first director, put Edwards and Stamberg together on the show. Mitchell, who is now a retired professor of journalism and mass communication at the University of Wisconsin, said, “I decided that we needed someone solid to go with her.”

Stamberg had a “strong personality,” and Mitchell said, “I think we needed as a co-host someone who was absolutely solid and didn’t have that much personality, wasn’t particularly polarizing, was a little bit boring.” We didn’t mean to put him down; we just needed a balance in the show.

Mitchell said, “In the early days of NPR, we were a bunch of fools.” But, he said, “Bob had credibility,” which was what the group needed. “His voice and the way it was delivered were its best features.” He was “almost like AI” and “completely trustworthy,” Mitchell said.

People who worked at NPR early on and were on the committee that made Morning Edition say that when Edwards went to Morning Edition in 1979, they were supposed to borrow him to get the show up and running after stations didn’t like the pilots.

Kernis, who is now a writer for CBS’s Sunday Morning, said that “Bob was a rock” in the early days of Morning Edition. “Bob was cool. Bob always said, “This is going to happen.” “This is something we can do.

Kernis said that getting the show going was “a huge amount of work” and “much more than we thought.” After a few years, though, “it looked like it might actually succeed,” he said. “And Bob has to take care of all that. They liked him because he spoke with power, they were glad to have him in the morning, and they could trust his voice.

Kernis said, “Bob was so much more than just Morning Edition.” “Every day, he stood for what public radio could be.” We’re going to teach you, inform you, and interest you more.

Kernis said that Edwards “had very little patience for NPR managers and their decisions” when he wasn’t working on Morning Edition.

“Someone in charge always wanted to cut the budget or asked, ‘Do you need that many staff members?'” “This is how we’re going to change the show.” “And if he didn’t agree with those decisions, he made it clear, which I know the staff liked,” Kernis said.

Later, Kernis became one of those leaders when he was hired as the SVP of programming at NPR. “That’s when I turned into an idiot boss too.” However, Kernis said that he “got what Edwards was going for.” He looked out for his team and the show.

“King of the short and sweet question”
An email from a former NPR reporter named Howard Berkes to Current said that Edwards also helped to set up the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists unit at NPR. During the early 1990s, he spoke out against a contract policy that he thought was unfair. This caused AFTRA to file a challenge, he said.

Berkes said that the lawsuit “led to a settlement that gave many of the reporters thousands of dollars in back pay and benefits and changed them all to full staff pay and benefits.” Two dozen writers finally got paid fairly for the work they were already doing, thanks in large part to Bob Edwards’s leadership in the effort.

Berkes said that Edwards was “the master of the short and quick question that led to compelling and deep answers.” Sometimes just one word: “why?” Do not talk about other things before asking a question. He didn’t give a long history of how he knew the subject. Don’t make the question about him in any way. They were often put on the spot because he got right to the point.

She won a Peabody Award in 1999. “His is a unique radio voice: knowledgeable without being smug, personal without being bothersome, and opinionated without being rude.” “Mr. Edwards doesn’t just talk; he listens,” the website for the awards group said.

In 2004, Edwards was suddenly moved and fired from her job as host of Morning Edition. Kernis, who was SVP of programming at the time, said that the choice was made so that the show could cover more ground by having two hosts. He said Edwards had insisted on being the only speaker. After being fired, Edwards told the Los Angeles Times that he had told Kernis before that the show shouldn’t have a co-host.

28,000 emails and letters were sent to NPR to protest the decision. At the time, Kernis said, “I got the rudest mail I have ever gotten at work.”

Johnston said, “It hurt him a lot.” “… Bob still couldn’t get over “how it was handled.”

At the end of 2004, Edwards quit NPR to become the host of The Bob Edwards Show on SiriusXM. It was on for almost ten years, and a new version called Bob Edwards Weekend was broadcast on public radio.

In 1969, Edwards got his degree from the University of Louisville. The New York Times says he was then sent to work for Armed Forces Radio and Television in South Korea after being called up.

Edwards worked at WTOP in Washington, D.C., after getting his master’s degree from American University and before joining NPR.

Johnston said that plans for a memorial at NPR offices are in the “very early stages.” She thinks that the event will happen in late March or early April.

She said that Edwards would be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

An earlier version of this story said that The Bob Edwards Show on SiriusXM was broadcast on public radio, which was not true. A different version of the show did. Some versions of this story also said that Edwards did not want a co-host on Morning Edition. More information about what Edwards said about the problem has been added to the article.

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