Long-Time 'Morning Edition' Host Bob Edwards Is Dead at 76, but Why Did He Leave NPR?

After over two decades with NPR, Bob Edwards made a bold career move and decided that he'd rather host his own show somewhere else.

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Feb. 13 2024, Published 10:10 a.m. ET

Bob Edwards speaking at a lectern for AFTEC in 2012.
Source: Getty Images

The man who told so many people what happened in the world while they slept has died at the age of 76. Bob Edwards, who was the host of NPR's Morning Edition from 1979 to 2004, will likely always be best known for the role he played on that show.

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Following the news of his death on Feb. 10, 2024, though, some want to better understand what led him to leave NPR in favor of SiriusXM in 2004. Here's what we know about why Bob decided to leave NPR after several decades inside the radio network.

Bob Edwards hosting his radio show for SiriusXM.
Source: Getty Images
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Why did Bob Edwards leave NPR?

Bob left Morning Edition in 2004 after he was replaced on the show. He became the co-host of All Things Considered with Susan Stamberg shortly after joining NPR in 1974. He became the inaugural host of Morning Edition when the show launched in 1979. Bob served as host until 2004 when he was replaced. After being replaced, he left for SiriusXM, which led to thousands of protests from loyal listeners upset that he had been sidelined.

A year after he left the show, NPR released a lengthy note from its public editor in which they explained the move in more detail.

"Bob was asked by management to leave the host's role to become a senior correspondent for Morning Edition. He decided that he preferred having his own program and left NPR to go to XM Satellite Radio, where he now resides," the public editor's note explained.

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The note added that while the move hadn't been made to attract a younger audience, the listenership did grow by about 800,000 following his departure.

The note also added that change is a necessary part of managing journalism, even in public radio where that change can sometimes feel almost impossible.

Source: Twitter/@NPRinskeep
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"Still, change is inevitable, and management has an obligation to manage, even in a medium as resistant to change as public radio," the note explained. "I think that Morning Edition is sounding quite good. I think it needs to change even more so that it sounds and is in fact, more diverse — culturally, intellectually and politically."

There didn't seem to be any love lost between Bob Edwards and NPR.

Although Bob and NPR decided to part ways after 30 years of mutual success, it didn't seem like there was any love lost about the ultimate decision. Bob closed out his career at SiriusXM, but he was giving a very loving obituary by NPR following the news of his death.

"He was a total news guy, and I think understood the news deeply," Margaret Low, who worked with Bob for years, explained. "And in some ways he sort of set the bar for how we approach stories, because he would convey these stories with a kind of simplicity but also with real depth, and make sure that they somehow resonated. And that's lasted."

He may not have stayed with NPR forever, but it seems that he is still beloved inside the organization.

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