Edwards, Bob 1947–
Edwards, Bob 1947–
(Robert Alan Edwards)
PERSONAL: Born May 16, 1947, in Louisville, KY; son of Joseph R. (an accountant) and Loretta (a homemaker; maiden name, Fuchs) Edwards; married Sharon Kelly (a homemaker), May 14, 1979; children: Brean, Susannah, Eleanor. Education: University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, B.S., 1969; American University, Washington, DC, M.A., 1972.
ADDRESSES: Home—Arlington, VA. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Wiley Publishing, Inc., 111 River St., 5th Fl., Hoboken, NJ 07030.
CAREER: WHEL, New Albany, IN, radio broadcaster, 1968–69; WTOP, Washington, DC, news writer and anchor, 1972; Mutual Broadcasting System, Washington, DC, correspondent, 1972–73; National Public Radio (NPR), Washington, DC, co-host of All Things Considered, 1974–79, host of Morning Edition, 1979–2004; XM Satellite Radio, host of The Bob Edwards Show, 2004–. Military service: U.S. Army, 1969–71; served as television news anchor in Seoul, South Korea; became specialist, fifth class.
MEMBER: American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (national vice president), Radio/TV Correspondents Association, Society of Professional Journalists.
AWARDS, HONORS: Edward R. Murrow Award, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, 1984, for "outstanding contributions to public radio"; honorary Ph.D. in public service, University of Louisville, 1985; Gabriel Award, National Catholic Association of Broadcasters, 1987, for program "Bill of Sale: A Black Heritage," and 1990, for radio series "Born Drunk," both broadcast on National Public Radio's Morning Edition; Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award for excellence in journalism, 1995, for "Changing of the Guard: The Republican Revolution," broadcast on NPR; Peabody Award, 1999, for work on Morning Edition; inducted into National Radio Hall of Fame and Museum, 2004; named a Kentucky Colonel by the Governor of Kentucky. Has been awarded honorary doctorate degrees from Grinnell College, Willamette University, Spalding University and Albertson College.
Fridays with Red: A Radio Friendship, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1993.
Edward R. Murrow and the Birth of Broadcast Journalism, Wiley (Hoboken, NJ), 2004.
RADIO DOCUMENTARIES; UNDER NAME BOB EDWARDS; ALSO PRODUCER AND ANCHOR
U.S. Policy in Korea, broadcast on National Public Radio (NPR), 1975.
Edward R. Murrow, broadcast on NPR, 1975.
Letcher County, Kentucky, broadcast on NPR, 1976.
Elevators, broadcast on NPR, 1978.
Flood Relief—Mingo County, West Virginia, broadcast on NPR, 1978.
Wall Street Crash—Fiftieth Anniversary, broadcast on NPR, 1979.
Appalachian Writers, broadcast on NPR, 1980.
ADAPTATIONS: Edward R. Murrow and the Birth of Broadcast Journalism has been adapted for audiotape, read by Edwards, Tantor Media, 2004.
SIDELIGHTS: Robert Alan Edwards is best known to radio listeners as Bob Edwards, the man behind the rich voice that from 1974 to 2004 was heard daily on National Public Radio's (NPR's) All Things Considered and Morning Edition. During those thirty years at NPR, he conducted more than twenty thousand interviews. From a very young age, Edwards wanted to be on the radio, even though television was fast becoming the dominant media outlet. He began his career in broadcast journalism in 1968 at a small radio station in Indiana. Drafted into the U.S. Army the following year, he anchored the evening news for an army television station in Seoul, South Korea. Following his service, Edwards worked for a local radio station in Washington, D.C., and attended graduate school at the American University, where he learned news copywriting from Edward Bliss, a former editor of the noted pioneer broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow. In1974 Edwards began working for NPR, which had been established only three years earlier. Although NPR was unknown to most radio listeners during the first years of its existence, its popularity grew, due in part to the success of its highly acclaimed afternoon news magazine, All Things Considered.
Hosted by Edwards and Susan Stamberg, All Things Considered—featuring ninety minutes of news, investigative reports, documentaries, commentaries, and life-style reviews—became widely touted as broadcast journalism's most refreshing and stimulating news program. Edwards and Stamberg were credited with contributing to the show's popularity. The success of the show convinced station executives to try a similar program during the morning hours. Thus in 1979 Morning Edition debuted with Edwards sitting in as temporary host.
Like its afternoon counterpart, Morning Edition reports on a variety of subjects, ranging from national and international news events to sports and literary features. The format of the morning show consists of strictly timed segments to allow NPR's member stations to arrange the material to fit their own programming needs. Morning Edition proved to be a successful venture both for Edwards—who decided to remain as the show's permanent host—and for NPR, which was credited with producing yet another outstanding radio program. The show has received several awards, including the Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Award and a George Polk Award. In 1984 Edwards was honored by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which awarded him the Edward R. Murrow Award for "outstanding contributions to public radio," and in 1999 Edwards and Morning Edition were honored with the George Foster Peabody Award.
Despite this great success and the fact that Edwards was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame and Museum, executives at NPR decided to replace Edwards on Morning Edition in 2004. Though puzzled by this sudden loss of a job, the broadcaster quickly found new work as host of The Bob Edwards Show, which is broadcast on XM Satellite Radio. In 2004 he also published a book on his idol titled Edward R. Murrow and the Birth of Broadcast Journalism. Vanessa Bush, reviewing the biography for Booklist, appreciated how Edwards uses excerpts from recorded broadcasts and interviews to allow his subject to speak for himself, concluding that the author "brings to life the early days of radio and television."
Edwards once told CA: "I believe that a journalist's job is to tell the truth—even when the truth is ugly and unpopular. A free country is not afraid of the truth. A country is not free without the truth."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, May 1, 2004, Vanessa Bush, review of Edward R. Murrow and the Birth of Broadcast Journalism, p. 1526.
Chicago Tribune, October 20, 2004, Steve Johnson, "After Messy Breakup, Bob Edwards and 'Morning Edition' Carry On."
Library Journal, May 1, 2004, Donna Marie Smith, review of Edward R. Murrow and the Birth of Broadcast Journalism, p. 122.
PR Newswire, July 29, 2004, "Acclaimed Public Radio Newsman Bob Edwards Joins XM Satellite Radio to Host Morning Show Exclusively on XM"; August 17, 2004, "XM Radio's Bob Edwards Named 2004 Radio Hall of Fame Inductee"; September 30, 2004, "XM Radio to Launch Major New Programs 'The Bob Edwards Show' and 'Opie and Anthony' on October 4."
Publishers Weekly, August 30, 1993, review of Fridays with Red: A Radio Friendship, p. 84; April 5, 2004, review of Edward R. Murrow and the Birth of Broadcast Journalism, p. 55.
Sporting News, November 29, 1993, Steve Gietchier, review of Fridays with Red, p. 7.
USA Today, May, 2005, Raymond Fischer, review of Edward R. Murrow and the Birth of Broadcast Journalism, p. 80.
Boston Globe Online, http://www.boston.com/news/globe/ (March 24, 2004), Joseph P. Kahn, "NPR Reassigns Its Longtime Morning Voice."
National Public Radio Web site, http://www.npr.org/about/specials/bedwards/ (December 20, 2005), "Bob Edwards: 30 Years on NPR."
Washington Post Online, http://www.washingtonpost.com/ (July 28, 2004), Jennifer Frey, "Former NPR Host Bob Edwards to Be XM's New Morning Star."