I raise my Morning Edition coffee cup…

Friday, April 30th, 2004

…in tribute to broadcaster Bob Edwards, who finishes up “24 years and 6 months” of hosting the popular NPR program this morning. I know this with some precision because he mentions it several times in just that way—a small sign, perhaps, of the frustration he feels at not being able to cross the 25-year finish line later this year as Morning Edition host.
Just finished listening to the replay of his final few minutes on the MP3 stream that my G5 faithfully records every day before dawn, and I got kinda choked up when they played the long version of the B.J.Liederman-composed theme at the end of Bob’s interview with CBS’s Charles Osgood (who will “see us” on the radio, he always says at the end of Sunday Morning).
“Do you know why we’re talking this morning?” Bob asked Osgood. Turns out the first interview he did on Morning Edition was with Osgood in 1979. “You’re my alpha and omega.”
I always remember—perhaps over-remember—my encounter with Edwards and NPR’s Linda Wertheimer when they came to cover—and host All Things Considered from—the Ohio University campus in the spring of 1976. I remember Mo Udall campaigning on the college green, Jimmy Carter’s sons visiting town, and Edwards getting lots of attention from the young women who worked at WOUB radio.
I got into the dabbling I do with radio and television from generally romantic notions of what “broadcasting”—make that “Broadcasting”—was all about, born of a time when having an FCC license and serving as a public trustee meant something. I’ve always been impressed with the likes of Edward R. Murrow (guess who’s writing a book on Murrow), the steadfast voices of the BBC and CBC, and Cronkite, Schorr, Kuralt—and Edwards. Like most public figures, those latter men, on close examination, are filled with personal flaws and weaknesses, but they did a job on-air that was—and is—honorable.
That counts for something in my book.