I have to swallow hard to choke back tears this morning. The man I've woken up with for 15 years is leaving. It seemed only fitting that I jump in my car to listen to the final half-hour of Bob Edwards' "Morning Edition." Aside from having his smooth baritone wake me daily, the car was where I listened to him most. I had nowhere to go, but just decided to drive. It was the right place to be.
So many have expounded on the virtue of his style far better than I. Instead, I'll try to describe what his radio presence meant to me....
In his final interview with Charles Osgood, Edwards described Osgood as the alpha and the omega of his Morning Edition career, having first interviewed him on Morning Edition nearly 25 years ago. I viewed Bob Edwards as the alpha of my day. He is the thinking person's broadcaster and his calm demeanor and measured delivery is precisely what I expect from my morning newscast. It will never be the same.
I first began listening to him periodically while in college. Admittedly, I wasn't smart enough then to know that I should have listened daily. Once I began working, he traveled with me on my morning commute. There were more than a handful of times when I would say aloud, "That was a great story!" I'd say it to no one at all, except myself, as if verbalizing my approval could somehow be telephathically sent to NPR in Washington.
As my children grew they, too, became familar with Bob Edwards. While driving them to school in the morning, we would listen to terrific stories. Only then I would say to them, "That was a great story!"—wanting them to understand good journalism when they hear it, or read it. Our Wednesday morning ritual was that I drove the boys so they could listen to Bob Edwards and Frank DeFord.
And there was the weekly roundup of Congressional activity with Cokie Roberts. My sister and I loved to give it a, "Good morning, Bob" a la Cokie, which would always get a rise out of my dad. Cokie and Bob were such a part of my weekly routine that I felt as if they were colleagues. As an aside: When I was 22, I interviewed Cokie when she came to speak at Hathaway Brown School. I was terrified and excited to interview her. I was told by her handlers that I had 20 minutes—20 minutes with Cokie. Where do you start? But she laid a gentle, motherly hand on my leg and said, "It's OK, we have about 45 minutes." That was very cool for a seasoned news veteran to soothe the angst of a completely starstruck cub reporter. I'll never forget her kindness.
When news of Bob's reassignment hit in March, I received a frantic e-mail from my mom. "Can you believe this?" she wrote, with a tinge of sadness, but far more anger. My parents are only a few years older than Bob and news of experienced professionals being driven out of their jobs is a topic that hits a little too close to home for them. But mostly, my parents will miss the sound of the contemporary they came to know and trust over many years and through many ups and downs. As will we all.
So long, Bob. Look forward to hearing you again soon. Make sure you stop in Cleveland on your book tour. Legions of fans will be waiting to see you.