April 30, 2004

"Goodbye, Bob." After 30 years, National Public Radio's Bob Edwards leaves as anchor. Efforts to save his job haven't worked, despite Monkey, and other, outrage.

And so, just like another beloved Dr. Seuss story mercilessly defiled in front of everyone and their Mom, another cultural wave crashes, and next week we'll wake up to another experiment in ratings pimpery. Has "Morning Edition" jumped the shark? Or will the audience merely shuffle along to the new drumbeat. Somehow this reminds me of "Lavergne & Shirley" moving to California. . . it is too a word!

  • No, it's not. You want pimposity.
  • .
  • I was listening to this today, and was late for work so got to hear the whole end of the show. it was sad. all the correspondants said very nice things, thanking him, etc. There isn't much on the radio I can listen to, and his Morning Edition was one of the few I really enjoyed hearing. I wish they had given him another six months. But going out interviewing his first ME interview was a nice touch. Re: jumping the shark, the people replacing him have no personality. It will not be the same for me. I don't know if I will listen.
  • OK, no offense, but is this *really* as big a deal as people seem to making it out to be? Sure, he was a respected (and apparently somehow, much loved) voice on NPR. But I feel like this outpouring of sympathy for the guy, and the villification of his bosses at NPR who decided to let him go, is a little over the top. I mean, we don't *know* the guy. There are several scenarios where Bob could be the bad guy in this situtation. And radio stations make changes all the time - why is this one such a big deal? He has a nice voice and read the news good. But his replacement almost surely will have and do the same. I enjoyed his program - but the program remains the same. Only the voice will be different. Is that so much?
  • PS: It's pimpititation.
  • To me it will not be the same because I've been listening to him my whole life. I'm not busting my radio in anger or anything, but it just seems that they could have at least given him til the 25ht anniversary and let him step down.
  • Fes for me, yeah the difference is the big deal. There are no other consistencies over a vast period of time. 60 minutes, i guess. The Simpsons has lasted 16 years, as the longest-running tv show. But 25 is huge. And to replace him as an admitted ratings-grab is just stupid, there's no good reason. It's not that he doesn't have faults or the show couldn't be improved, but (again, for me) I'm not awake very much for the show anyway, I *like* that it's consistent - I don't want shock jock crap blaring and cursing, I want news - interesting stories - and the same guy to deliver it the same way. It's not the end of the world it's just a pointless jerk of the chain. And I'm also freakin sick of piss-poor management decisions with zero responsibility like replacing the most popular announcer, or chanigng the cola's formula, or starting an illegal war with a lie. *zing!*
  • Is this "Bob Edwards" something I would need a radio to understand? *ducks* Oh, and it's pimpitude
  • Fes, likewise, absolutely no offense, but, for a lot of us, it's more than just a voice. All indications in the trades and other coverage point to the NPR bosses taking a "it's not broke, but we'll fix it approach" and Bob Edwards apparently really is a nice guy who is respected in the biz, even if he does sound overly serious on the radio from time to time what with his resonant baritone. I suspect people are upset for two main reasons. First, is emotional. They've grown accustomed to his voice, to paraphrase the song. And is that so wrong? I have to admit, while listening to the radio this morning, and realizing from the commentators saying heartfelt farewells to Bob, that this was his last day, I was seriously, noticeably bummed. Oh, I'm fine at work today, but he will be missed. I can say that for very few radio or newspeople. From doing some broadcast production and worrying about the 'talent,' I know that producers and executives want their on-air people to connect with audiences. The execs want to create a brandable personality, someone that people--if they don't identify with--nevertheless feel very comfortable with. Hey, they do this with Stern and any number of the other radio show folks...and I know TV news is very into appearances and branding. Well, here with Bob Edwards, NPR found itself with the real deal: an engaging, intelligent, damn fine sounding anchor who gave gravity, occasionally too much gravity, and a center as one woke up in the morning. He engendered trust and authority, which I can certainly assert news directors want and adpeople realize they want if they have any sense (for NPR, the adpeople are called something else, I forget, "underwriter coordinators" maybe?). And Bob Edwards went beyond that, especially for those of us who came to listen to him each weekday morning. He engendered trust, yes, but he also came across as charmingly humble and something of an everyman, albeit an erudite one. In his back-and-forth with commentators such as John Feinstein of others, we got a real human being with insight, a wry sense of humor, but not a tremendous amount of ego. And no, it wasn't like he and the rest of the Morning Edition crew were family or something maudlin like that. But they were community
  • (contd.) Now change happens and metaphysical buildings get remodeled, and everyone knows, when they think about it, that Bob Edwards isn
  • "it's just a pointless jerk of the chain" describes the situation perfectly. A few years back they revamped "Performance Today". At the time it was the most rapidly syndicated show NPR had ever put out but for some reason they decided to change it. I had stopped listening to it by that time due changes in my schedule (i.e. I had a job) but from what I read the results were basically suckage. I can understand in the corporate world tinkering with things that aren't broken. But it seems like NPR, being sorta public, should be able to avoid changes for the sakes of changes.
  • OK. I've listened to morning edition for years too, but even with that I didn't have that sort of emotional response that his removal seems to generate, and wondered after the impetus of it. Perhaps I'm just dead inside, like mom always told me I was :) Nevertheless, I very much appreciate the detailed and thoughtful post, BearGuy.
  • yeah beauty post BearGuy Fes, remember to love again ;)
  • Today was the first day I heard Morning Edition sans Bob. It sucked. Nothing was wrong per se except for the fact that everything was wrong because Bob wasnt' there. And his first assignment was good, but long, and he's not a reporter - he's the damned anchor! Idiots!
  • As I hoped, Bob has found a good deal from people who actually listened to him rather than obsessed over disconnected statistics.
  • well good for Bob. Someone let us know if the show is good - if it is, I'll make my donation to XM instead. /bitter_pete