Bob Edwards, the host of NPR’s “Morning Edition” for nearly a quarter-century, whose rich baritone and calm demeanor imbued his radio broadcasts with authority to reach millions of listeners, died Saturday. He was 76 years old.
NPR, which Announced death on Monday, did not cite a cause or say where he died.
Mr. Edwards, a native of Louisville, Kentucky, who knew from an early age that he wanted to work in radio, joined NPR in 1974, during the Watergate hearings. That year, he became co-host of “All Things Considered,” the public broadcaster’s exclusive late-night magazine of interviews, analysis and features. Its success led to the spin-off “Morning Edition” in 1979.
Mr. Edwards began as a temporary host of that show for 30 days before serving as host for 24 and a half years.
“Bob Edwards understood the intimate and clearly personal connection with audiences that distinguishes audio journalism from other media,” said NPR CEO John Lansing. said in a statement“and for decades was a trusted voice in the daily lives of millions of NPR listeners.”
Susan Stamberg, his “All Things Considered” co-host, in an interview with NPR for her obituary on Edwards, described the chemistry of oil and vinegar.
“We had five good, although difficult, years together, until we got into each other’s rhythm, because he was Mr. Cool, he was Mr. Authoritative and direct,” he said. “I was the New Yorker with a million ideas and a big laugh. But we really adapted pretty well.”
She called him “the voice we wake up to” for a quarter of a century.
In “Morning Edition,” Mr. Edwards interviewed thousands of prominent news figures, including singer Dolly Parton and renowned baseball announcer Red Barber, with whom he directed a popular regular segment of comment.
Mr. Edwards was booted from “Morning Edition” in 2004, a move that sparked protests from listeners and even reached the halls of Congress, where Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., stood up on the Senate floor to object. , calling Mr. Edwards “the most successful morning voice in America.”
Mr. Edwards discussed going on air with his NPR colleague Scott Simon, saying that “tastes change and they have different ideas about the show and who should do 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 it was his father, telling him he said to Mr. Simón.
Early in his career, he worked for a station in Indiana and in Korea for Armed Forces Radio and Television, according to a biography in the Radio Hall of Fame, which incorporated it in 2004. He won a Peabody Award in 2000 for “Morning Edition,” which the awards committee described as “two hours a day of in-depth news and entertainment expertly directed by a man who embodies the essence of excellence in radio.” .
Following his last broadcast of “Morning Edition,” on April 30, 2004, Mr. Edwards went on to host “The Bob Edwards Show” on SiriusXM Radio, which aired until 2014, and “Bob Edwards Weekend,” which aired broadcast on public radio. seasons.
“He was very strict about even the smallest details and lived by the philosophy that ‘less is more,’” his wife, Windsor Johnston, an NPR reporter and anchor, wrote on Facebook Monday. “She helped pave the way for the younger generation of journalists who continue to make NPR what it is today.”
A full obituary will appear soon.