Join 3,440 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Bob Edwards
March 23, 2004 2:59 PM   Subscribe

Bob Edwards gets the boot! The host of National Public Radio's "Morning Edition" since its inception in 1979 has been forced out of that job. What's next to go? Susan Stamberg's cranberry relish?
posted by Durwood (72 comments total)

 
Isn't Bob Edwards... like.. isn't he NPR? Isn't this like McDonald's telling Ronald to take a hike?

That being said, they ought to fire goddamned Joanne Silberner. Oh should they ever.
posted by xmutex at 3:09 PM on March 23, 2004


Here's the announcement from the NPR web site. Looks like NPR has been spending too much time with in spin city. They almost make it sound like he was grateful to get the axe.
posted by spotmeter at 3:11 PM on March 23, 2004


Is it time for NPR members to start a letter writing campaign to get the full story?
posted by crazy finger at 3:23 PM on March 23, 2004


Bastards! I remember the morning they announced George Harrison died, and in the midst of crying I actually had the passing thought that it was at least better to hear the news from Bob Edwards than anyone else.
posted by scody at 3:32 PM on March 23, 2004


That voice will be missed, I think NPR is making a mistake
he was a fixture.
posted by thedailygrowl at 3:33 PM on March 23, 2004


Dumbasses. New Coke was a better innovation.

Plus, don't they realize that they've opened themselves up for a BIG loss in listeners?

People admit switching between Howard Stern and Morning Edition, but now, Bob could just establish a whopping megashow that'll knock NPR out of the contest altogether...

ah well.
posted by Busithoth at 3:37 PM on March 23, 2004


jeez, that sucks, and it's a really bad move on npr's part.
sadly, i bet it's all the local stations that are going to bear the brunt of people's disapontment in the form of smaller donations.
posted by dolface at 3:41 PM on March 23, 2004


People admit switching between Howard Stern and Morning Edition

Or maybe Stern will turn out to be their choice for a replacement for Bob Edwards?
posted by Stoatfarm at 3:47 PM on March 23, 2004


xmutex, why the invective against Siberner?

OTOH, I have to admit the main reason I like her so much is that I find her voice attractive.
posted by alumshubby at 4:20 PM on March 23, 2004


[this is bad]
posted by rushmc at 4:22 PM on March 23, 2004


"You're listening to NPR's Morning Edition. This is Michael Savage."

"And I'm Linda Wertheimer."
posted by inksyndicate at 4:24 PM on March 23, 2004


oh. this makes me made... i grew up listening to edwards virtually everyday - members should have had some say in this move.

npr has been going down the shitcan lately - while i was out running tonight i was forced to listen to a 20 minute segment on all things considered about some mediocre gospel group - the longest feature i have heard on all things considered for some time. grrrrrrrr. they a call from this member tomorrow.
posted by specialk420 at 4:29 PM on March 23, 2004


They did the same damned thing to Daniel Zwerdling a few years ago. He was a correspondent for them from 1980-1994, and host of Weekend All Things Considered from 1993-1999. In 1999, he was unceremoniously booted, because they wanted to "take the show in a new direction." I don't know about you, but I haven't noticed any radical shifts in ATC in the past few years.

He immediately received an offer from Minnesota Public Radio (MPR is a major competitor to NPR; you know them for Prairie Home Companion and, possibly, Marketplace) where, ironically, he ended up working on the American RadioWorks, a joint project with NPR.

I don't know what's going on at NPR, but I don't particularly like it.
posted by waldo at 4:35 PM on March 23, 2004


Bob Edwards is our Walter Cronkite. He has a way of adding legitimacy to a news story and gravitas to even the most silly topics.

If they bring in a Katie Couric-type or someone who's meant to add "sunshine" to the program I'll... I'll... oh crap, there is no one else to listen to, is there?
posted by stevis at 4:57 PM on March 23, 2004


This seems like a bad move to make in an election year.
posted by ColdChef at 5:13 PM on March 23, 2004


And by that, I mean it's a bad idea to boot a host with a proven history of integrity in a time where people are going to be listening to NPR more than usual.
posted by ColdChef at 5:14 PM on March 23, 2004


All I can do is add to the chorus of dismay here. . .will Scott Simon be next to get the axe?

It is unfortunate that the only way to hold them accountable is to withhold contributions to local stations, and with the bequest that NPR just got from Joan Kroc, it is arguable that they will increasingly do whatever they damned well please, with no thought to the wishes of listeners and local affiliates.
posted by Danf at 5:25 PM on March 23, 2004


The Al Franken led liberal radio network fires up this coming Monday, I believe. Coincidence?
posted by vito90 at 5:49 PM on March 23, 2004


I have a recording of Bob doing Morning Edition on 9/11 somewhere. They way he managed the show and the things he said on that day were more than just far and away better reporting than any other news outlet, it was some of the best and honest reporting ever. The man has such humanity in his voice. To hear him occasionally as a commentator will just be too sad.

I love the man. I have a 10 year unbroken love affair with Public Radio and this is the worst news I've heard since... I don't know when. WTF?
posted by n9 at 5:53 PM on March 23, 2004


Wow, I guess I'm the only one here, but I find Edwards practically unlistenable. His bland, uninflected mumble shouldn't be confused with gravitas, and his interviews are uninsightful and unprobing. And friends who have worked with him confirm this when noting that he can only read from staff-prepared questions. He's been around forever, but longevity and quality ain't synonymous.
posted by twsf at 5:59 PM on March 23, 2004


I'm not sure if its the right place, but I sent my complaint to ombudsman@npr.org.
posted by Manjusri at 6:25 PM on March 23, 2004


< backlash>

No bueno. Ixnay. Total denial.

Mornings will suck... I just went through the bios and I can't think of anyone else capable of delivering the same level of warm, fatherly gusto that dear Bob can. Senior correspondent means nothing; I never hear Zwerdling anymore.

< /donation>
posted by moonbird at 6:36 PM on March 23, 2004


They didn't waste any time fixing his bio.

Still, I think the first line says it all, "To many listeners, Bob Edwards is public radio."

(Oooops, gotta fix the tense here: "As host of Morning Edition, Edwards conducts [sic] more than 800 interviews each year covering politics, international affairs, education, labor, economics, sports, the arts, and entertainment.") Please add the line: "Before we canned his ass."
posted by ColdChef at 6:52 PM on March 23, 2004


I think it's a particular shame that they didn't let him at least continue until the program's 25th anniversary in November. It would have been a good time for him to gracefully bow out, and NPR owes him nothing less.

I'm guessing this is their new ME's doing.
posted by Vidiot at 7:07 PM on March 23, 2004


Edwards was our best guest speaker in j-school. Really down to earth with a dry sense of humor.

The Al Franken led liberal radio network fires up this coming Monday, I believe. Coincidence?

"Hello, Bob? This is Al. Have I got an offer for you ..."
posted by whatnot at 7:38 PM on March 23, 2004


ombudsman@npr.org is the correct place to email complaints/comments to NPR. I just sent my email.
posted by ALongDecember at 7:43 PM on March 23, 2004


Why the presumption that this didn't come from Edwards himself? Perhaps he has a personal reason for wishing to scale back his worklife or to not have to get up in the dead of night to prepare for a morning drive, news-intensive program anymore. It's a terrific grind, I couldn't blame him for deciding to bow out gracefully rather than sticking around for a big fluffy anniversary then skulking away afterwards.
posted by Dreama at 7:44 PM on March 23, 2004


Dreama, From the article:

Edwards said he was disappointed by the move, particularly that he won't be host when the program celebrates its 25th anniversary in November.

"You have to figure it's going to happen someday and you get out before they do it," he said. "But I failed."

He said he was given no specific reasons for his ouster. "It's the old 'move the program in a new direction.' There was no Janet Jackson incident," he said.

posted by ColdChef at 7:48 PM on March 23, 2004


I'm guessing our local affiliate is just overjoyed that this jackassery is taking place on the eve of their latest fundraiser. I wrote and informed them that I expected an unequivocal protest posted on their website and relayed to the boneheaded marketing whizes who are evidently responsible for this.
posted by RavinDave at 7:50 PM on March 23, 2004


The Al Franken led liberal radio network fires up this coming Monday, I believe. Coincidence?

i seriously doubt it'd happen, but it wouldn't be the first public radio person to leave for the liberal radio network. our beloved M(innesota)PR personality Katherine Lampher left to be a cohost on Franken's show.

then again, she was only part time after she got drunk and did a hit and run on a parked car.

oops. gossipfilter.
posted by graventy at 7:50 PM on March 23, 2004


I love his voice. I often imitate him while driving to work and listening, intoning "...I'm Bob Edwards..." in that deep voice just like he does.
posted by davidmsc at 8:00 PM on March 23, 2004


Here's Bob's 9/11 coverage.
posted by PrinceValium at 8:13 PM on March 23, 2004


The thing that I find most odd is that they chose to boot him before they had a permanent replacement lined up. One of the things I don't like about ATC is that they have so many different hosts that it almost seems ridiculous -- one of the nice things about Morning Edition has been hearing the same voice every day. Now I'm afraid Morning Edition is going to follow ATC down the revolve-a-host path.
posted by HiddenInput at 8:26 PM on March 23, 2004


He has been a staple and a fixture in my daily news fix - it's so easy to take things for granted.
posted by jazzkat11 at 8:32 PM on March 23, 2004


My mornings aren't gonna be the same without hearing "I'm Bahb Edwards..."

Jebus. First the bit with Sandra Tsing Loh (while I'm not a fan, I think she got a raw deal from Ruth Seymour), and now this. Does NPR want to drive away its listenership?
posted by RakDaddy at 8:46 PM on March 23, 2004


My email to the ombudsman:

As a contributing member of NHPR, I wanted to inform you that the "new direction" for a "Morning Edition" that doesn't include Bob Edwards will most likely coincide with a "new direction" in my contribution this year: down.
posted by crazy finger at 8:50 PM on March 23, 2004


I've been listening, and paying, to NPR for years, and in my opinion it's never been worse. The crappy fake interviews the All Things Considered hosts have with correspondents are so stilted and choppy that I have to summon the will to avoid switching to drive time classic rock. Then there are the perspectiveless pieces, the one-note tunes where once there were orchestras.

I'll probably keep paying. But if it slips much further, what's the point?
posted by sacre_bleu at 8:50 PM on March 23, 2004


What's most troubling is that NPR's press release is textbook spin -- I go to them to avoid that. Well, I used to.
posted by RavinDave at 9:03 PM on March 23, 2004


alumshubby: I find Siberner's voice slight motivation to stab myself in the throat.
posted by xmutex at 9:26 PM on March 23, 2004


then again, she was only part time after she got drunk and did a hit and run on a parked car.

do you think we can start a petition to convince edwards to move to st. paul and take over lampher's position?

that would be a better trade than the one that got us sprewell .... and that was one helluva a good trade :)
posted by specialk420 at 9:30 PM on March 23, 2004


Favorite Bob Edwards moment: after Susan Stamberg did her completely weird cranberry relish thing yet again, Bob closed the piece by saying, "And that's why we call her our special correspondent."

I'm really disappointed -- Linda Werthheimer, now Bob Edwards. They have this incredible thing that works, and they seem to be out to destroy it. Sad, and out of touch.
posted by precipice at 1:08 AM on March 24, 2004


As a Central Florida resident, I move that Edwards come to Orlando and give Patrick Duggins the boot. That man is the most self-serving I've heard in public radio.
posted by Beansidhe at 5:10 AM on March 24, 2004


It finally occurred to me what this news reminded me of. Back in 1991, the wonderful Detroit Tigers organization decided to replace longtime radio announcer Ernie Harwell. The move got them bad press, bad PR, bad fan reactions, and generally bad karma, and a few years later he was back in the booth.

This move strikes me as being about as wise and about as likely to help NPR as firing Ernie Harwell was for the Tigers. There are some things you just don't mess with.
posted by deadcowdan at 5:10 AM on March 24, 2004


I really enjoyed his delivery.
If I paid taxes this would irritate the hell out of me.
posted by dong_resin at 5:36 AM on March 24, 2004


I've been listening to Bob's handling of 9-11 that PrinceValium posted. It's totally chilling, and he covered the story just like Edward R. Murrow. Who else could have done that? It's a compelling broadcast in itself, but Bob's management of the broadcast for such a visual experience was as top notch as journalism gets.

Viva Noah Adams! Viva Daniel Zwerdling! Viva Linda Wertheimer! Long Live Bob Edwards!
posted by moonbird at 5:45 AM on March 24, 2004


I like Edwards too, but just playing devil's advocate for a second: Don't you think NPR gave this a shitload of thought -- including the fact that a large segment of the current audience would be dismayed? The analysis probably goes something like this: ME has a regular audience of X listeners. Those listeners love Bob, however X has been slowly declining, and the average age of X is growing. If we replace the host, we believe (based on market research, focus groups, blah blah blah) that 10% of X will stop listening to ME in the first year, but that we'll pick up an additional 20% new listeners.

Of course, due to the fact that I misplaced my crystal ball, I don't know whether those assumptions are accurate or inaccurate -- only time will tell. But you probably should at least concede that NPR did more than just wake up today and say, "You know what? We really should get rid of that Edwards guy."

Anyway, they should have axed Tavis Smiley.
posted by pardonyou? at 6:28 AM on March 24, 2004


Am I the only person on MeFi who dosen't listen to NPR?

I think the news should be delivered by Cousin Brucie, Scott Muni and the ghost of Wolfman Jack.
posted by jonmc at 6:48 AM on March 24, 2004


Good freakin' riddance.

I hate Bob Edwards. I recently recieved a survey form from NPR, and I said the best thing they could do would be to get rid of the guy. I hate the way he speaks. His voice rises and falls so much that I have to crank up the volume to hear the quiet passages, so much so that the louder ones blast my tender morning ears. Gah.
posted by MrMoonPie at 6:53 AM on March 24, 2004


C'mon, I seriously doubt losing Bob Edward's voice will make a lot of difference to the quality of NPR. Do you really think that Edwards writes all his own stuff? Sure, he's got a calm and reflective tone, but his voice isn't the reason I listen to NPR. The writing, reputation, and focus on the issues are the reason I listen.
posted by mooncrow at 7:00 AM on March 24, 2004


our beloved M(innesota)PR personality Katherine Lampher --yikes! -- I beg to differ -- I can't stand Lampher and am really glad she is off to do other things.
posted by mooncrow at 7:03 AM on March 24, 2004


What's most troubling is that NPR's press release is textbook spin -- I go to them to avoid that. Well, I used to.

Agreed, that was weird and embarassing.

One point of clarification: nobody donates money to NPR and nobody belongs to NPR -- you pledge and join the member stations who buy programming from NPR.

About the only thing they could do to improve the situation (apart from reversing the decision) would be to give Morning Edition to Tavis Smiley.
posted by sudama at 7:07 AM on March 24, 2004


So this is MrMoonPie's fault. Get him!
posted by languagehat at 7:08 AM on March 24, 2004


Viva Noah Adams! Viva Daniel Zwerdling! Viva Linda Wertheimer! Long Live Bob Edwards!

Yes. Give your NPR money to Air America and let's get these people hired to deliver real news on the new network.

People NPR should shitcan:

Juan Williams
Mara Liasson
Nina Totenburg
Scott Simon
[your media whore name here]
posted by nofundy at 7:11 AM on March 24, 2004


Sudama,

Beg to differ. I donate to NPR through United Way at work. Or, I used to. Air America sounds better now. I'm very disappointed with some recent changes in the news people.
posted by nofundy at 7:13 AM on March 24, 2004


Bob Edwards is paying the price for his speech at Lexington, Kentucky probably.
I posted a link to the speech here at MeFi.
How dare he disagree with Dear Leader!
The teremity he has to question the wisdom of aWol!

A new word: Edwards got sterned.
posted by nofundy at 7:17 AM on March 24, 2004


Now, now nofundy.

Looks like we have have to change the foil in your hat again.

*sigh*
posted by jonmc at 7:27 AM on March 24, 2004


People admit switching between Howard Stern and Morning Edition....

I'm not the only person who does that? I wonder if NPR realizes how many of their listeners are folks who don't want to sit through Stern commercials....
posted by oissubke at 7:32 AM on March 24, 2004


While the ombudsman has no say over the hiring and firing practices of NPR, he definitely should be held accountable for the spin in the npr.org piece. Yuck.

Nofundy, why Nina Totenburg? I love her. My favorite is when she reads the transcripts from Supreme Court cases! She rules.

I can't stand Juan Williams though. He was the worst on Talk of the Nation. Terrible, terrible host. He seems better now in his new role, but I still loathe him for ruining Talk of the Nation.
posted by elvissinatra at 8:43 AM on March 24, 2004


First Todd Mundt
and now this....

what's next?
posted by szg8 at 8:44 AM on March 24, 2004


why Nina Totenburg? I love her. My favorite is when she reads the transcripts from Supreme Court cases!

Nina Totenberg is great and all, but she gets WAY too much airtime. About eight minutes into one of her court pieces, the thought always flashes: Who's she got polaroids on, anyway? And now: ...and why can't she share with my man Bob Edwards?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 9:17 AM on March 24, 2004


Does this mean we don't have to listen to him drone on about baseball anymore?
posted by piskycritter at 9:34 AM on March 24, 2004


Bummer. Here's a piece in the Washington Post with a few more quotes. Of course, our local NPR affiliate started its drive today. This time, I just fired up the iPod.
posted by pzarquon at 10:03 AM on March 24, 2004


One point of clarification: nobody donates money to NPR and nobody belongs to NPR -- you pledge and join the member stations who buy programming from NPR.

Absolutely not true. First, Mrs. Krock donated something like $2 million to NPR earlier this year - directly to them.

A few years ago when Tory Malatia did some horrendous things to the programming at WBEZ in Chicago I stopped supporting them and sent money directly to NPR instead.
posted by Qubit at 12:45 PM on March 24, 2004


Keep Totenberg !
shitcan Cokie Roberts.
posted by lathrop at 3:27 PM on March 24, 2004


If they touch Dan Schor, I'm organizing a firebombing.
Fair warning.
posted by dong_resin at 3:57 PM on March 24, 2004


I got a response back from the email complaint I sent to our local affiliate (cc'd to ombudsman@npr.org) expressing my dismay. They sent me a copy of a letter from Bob Edwards that NPR has been releasing on his behalf, dictated at gunpoint no doubt:


Dear Listener,

Over the course of the last 24 hours I have been overwhelmed by the support and good wishes from all of you. As I have repeatedly said, Morning Edition and public radio have the most remarkable audience. Your thoughts about the program and me are a testament to that.

I want to take this opportunity to assure you all that I will be here at NPR for the long haul. And while this transition will be difficult for me, as I am leaving a post that I have loved and have given my heart to, I look forward to continuing to be a significant part of NPR and the amazing program lineup.

After April 30, I will become a senior correspondent for NPR, and while it is true that we are still working out the details of that position, I have no doubt that all my needs will be met and that I will continue to do journalism for this fine institution.

The past 25 years at the helm of Morning Edition have been the best of my life. But I am not saying goodbye. I hope you continue to listen and support your public radio station.

Bob Edwards

posted by RavinDave at 5:01 PM on March 24, 2004


Why Nina Totenburg?

Take a look back to election 2000.

Nina gave big slurpees to Scalia and company during the 5-4 usurpation of democracy.

Unforgivable.
posted by nofundy at 5:09 AM on March 25, 2004


Absolutely not true. First, Mrs. Krock donated something like $2 million to NPR earlier this year - directly to them.

If somebody complaining in this thread has $2 million to dangle in front of NPR over Bob Edwards' career change, this is getting interesting. Otherwise my point is that you're not going to affect the decisionmaking process by witholding your $50.

I think what NPR needs is some actual competition.
posted by sudama at 6:56 AM on March 25, 2004


If anyone has to go, it's "Weekend Edition Sunday" host Liane Hansen. I really can't stand her...what I especially hate is the way she stomps all over one of my favorite features, the puzzle section with Will Shortz. (Shut UP! Let the friggin' guest guess!)
posted by LairBob at 9:10 AM on March 25, 2004


Save Bob Edwards
posted by amphigory at 10:45 AM on March 25, 2004


FYI, Kroc donated $200 million, not $2 million.
posted by smackfu at 1:11 PM on March 25, 2004


Right on LairBob! Liane's not stupid, but man is she irritating! For the record, Rick Karr is a HOTTIE! Hope he doesn't jump ship and run for TVland.
posted by DenOfSizer at 2:42 PM on March 25, 2004


« Older Kevin Sheilds' first interview in 12 years....  |  ChatNannies: the first real AI... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments