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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 laid-back demeanor gave his radio shows the authority to reach millions of listeners , died on Saturday. He was 76 years old.

NPR, which reported his death Monday, did not cite a cause or indicate the location of his death.

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 signature evening newsmagazine, featuring interviews, analysis and features. Its success led to the spin-off “Morning Edition” in 1979.

Mr. Edwards began as a temporary host of this program for 30 days before serving as its anchor for 24 and a half years.

“Bob Edwards understood the intimate, distinctly personal connection with audiences that distinguishes audio journalism from other media,” John Lansing, NPR’s managing director, said in a statement, “and for decades he has been a voice of confidence in the daily lives of millions of people. NPR listeners.

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

“We had five good – albeit difficult – years together, until we could sort of find each other’s rhythm, because he was Mr. Cool, he was Mr. Bossy and straight ahead,” said she declared. “I was the New Yorker with a million ideas and a big laugh. But we really adapted quite well.

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

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

Mr. Edwards was ousted from “Morning Edition” in 2004, a decision that sparked protests from listeners and even reached the halls of Congress, where Senator Dick Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, spoke out. rose in the Senate to oppose it, calling Mr. Edwards “the most successful morning voice in America.”

Mr. Edwards discussed his on-air departure with his NPR colleague Scott Simon, saying that “tastes change, and they have different ideas about what the show is and who should do it.” He was replaced by Steve Inskeep and Renée 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 telephone and callers would say, “Hello, Mr. Edwards,” assuming he was his father, he says Mr. Simon.

Early in his career, he worked for a station in Indiana and Korea for Armed Forces Radio and Television, according to a biography published in 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 daily hours of in-depth news and entertainment expertly helmed by a man who embodies the essence of radio excellence.”

After his final show “Morning Edition”, on April 30, 2004, Mr. Edwards went on to host “The Bob Edwards Show” on SiriusXM Radio, which lasted until 2014, and “Bob Edwards Weekend”, which aired on public radio. stations.

“He paid attention to the smallest details and lived by the philosophy that ‘less is more,'” his wife, Windsor Johnston, a journalist and NPR anchor, wrote on Facebook Monday. “He 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.

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