« Display All Giraffes | View Printable Version of this Profile »

Create a wiki page for this profile

Bob Edwards
Bob Edwards -- XML Radio/former NPR

We are the government. We govern ourselves and to be a voter is a big responsibility. It's a privilege that not everyone in the world enjoys but you need to be informed in order to make a good choice.

interviewed July 5, 2005 by The Media Giraffe

"In college, I got interested in news because the world was coming apart. The civil rights movement, the antiwar movement, the women's right movement. That focused my radio ambitions toward news."

Interviewed in 2001 at JournalismJobs.COM (see link below)

former Morning Edition anchor now on satellite radio


In a Feb. 20, 2006 profile, the Washington Post's Mark Fisher reports that a weekly compilation of Bob Edward's XM interviews is now being syndicated by Minnesota Public Radio.

Article on Bob Edwards's talk at Alaska Fairbanks University at: http://www.freepress.net/news/8599

LINK: JournalismJobs.COM interview with Bob Edwards in 2001 (includes at the bottom links to other interviews)

The sonorous voice of Bob Edwards, long a fixture for National Public Radio listeners, is no longer on the FM airwaves. Instead, its on the satellite-transmitted XM Radio. It was a letter from XM's CEO, sent during negotiations over changes in his NPR job, which convinced Edwards to join XM. In the letter. "Maybe someone doesn't hear you every day," he said. "But I do."

XM Radio is one of the two authorized satellite programming services, the other is Sirius. It was more than 30 years ago that Edwards joined NPR at a time when a national news program for public radio didn't exist. Edwards and colleagues built from almost nothing for the evening All Things Considered. Then 10 years later they launched Morning Edition.

Now, once again Edwards is launching, becoming one of the pioneers of satellite programming on audio Channel 123.

The show is primarily an hour interview with a guest-of-the-daily topic. A longer time frame allows him to invite a guest who can provide more background in depth than he used to be able to fit into NPR's format. Edwards said he wants to inspire his listeners and help them have new ideas of their own. "I want to put interesting people on the air with interesting ideas and have audience just glue to their radios," said Edwards.

In Edward's opinion, most people don't have enough information to function as citizens in democracy. "We are the government. We govern ourselves and to be a voter is a big responsibility. It's a privilege that not everyone in the world enjoys but you need to be informed in order to make a good choice." And he feels it's his responsibility to inform his audience as a public radio channel host. < p> At XM radio there are nearly 140 channels Edwards sees satellite radio as trying to avoid the functions that commercial radios fail to serve. Instead of the short limited variety of playlists which equally distributed into the program along with advertisement, XM Satellite Radio has 80 commercial-free music channels play any kinds of ever recorded records all the time. "And that's where XM fills that void because there is just a depth to it," says Edwards. "So all the music ever recorded is played here in addition to brand new music."

Edwards sees commercial radio as "a big greedy cash register" functioning primarily as promotion for the entertainment industry.

"Rather than serving their audience, commercial radio has long stopped meeting their audience's needs; instead they serve only their business clients, advertisers," he says. Edwards says they should stop being so greedy, stop doing so many commercials, and think of their listeners again. He suggests public radio stations ought to differentiate themselves by speaking on air about how they are broadcasting locally.

Edwards is disappointed towards prime-time television and prime-time news programs. He pointed out even the news programs entertain their audience more than inform the audience. Edwards says news programs have now lost their advantage of independence and are forced to join the big leagues of money-making. He contrasts this with a program Edward R. Morrow did on CBS in the 1950s. "You can see that one advantage Morrow had is that his programs didn't have to make money," said Edwards. Now, he says, news programs have to sustain their business by having more crime and celebrities' gossip to increase their audience.

Edwards said this unhealthy phenomenon could be changed only when mainstream media start to stick to what's important to their audience, but nothing else. "The mainstream media...stick to what's important and keep serving their readers, viewers and listeners rather than be distracted by the agenda that these talk shows insist on, or rather than being sent off on these tangents that really serve the political candidates favored by these talk shows."