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Wednesday, March 24, 2004 - Page updated at 12:10 P.M.

Edwards out of job as NPR host

By David Bauder
The Associated Press

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NEW YORK — National Public Radio has bounced Bob Edwards, host of "Morning Edition" since its inception in 1979, out of his job.

The radio network announced today that Edwards, 56, will become senior correspondent of NPR News, with his reports being heard on various broadcasts, at the end of April.

Edwards said he was disappointed by the move, particularly that he won't be host when the program celebrates its 25th anniversary in November.

"You have to figure it's going to happen someday and you get out before they do it," he said. "But I failed."

He said he was given no specific reasons for his ouster. "It's the old 'move the program in a new direction.' There was no Janet Jackson incident," he said.

Spokeswoman Laura Gross said NPR's programming and news management made the change because they're trying to refresh all the network's broadcasts.

"It's part of a natural evolution," she said. "A new host will bring new ideas and perspectives to the show. Bob's voice will still be heard; he'll still be a tremendous influence on the show. We just felt it was time for a change."

National Public Radio listenership is especially high in the Seattle region. Jeff Hansen, program director at KUOW, the NPR affiliate in Seattle, said the station ranks fifth among NPR markets nationwide, while Seattle itself is the country's 14th largest radio market.

NPR's Steve Inskeep and Renee Montagne will serve as interim co-hosts starting in May until a permanent successor to Edwards is named.
 
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"Morning Edition" is second only to Rush Limbaugh's syndicated program as the most-listened to national radio show.

NPR estimated Edwards has conducted 20,000 interviews during his years on the show. Edwards joined NPR in 1974, the network's third year of existence. He said he's still trying to find out more about his new assignment.

"I've been in the same place for 30 years," he said. "I don't know what it's like elsewhere. But I'd be open to suggestions."

The network also announced that two-time Pulitzer Prize winner William K. Marimow, former editor of The (Baltimore) Sun, will join NPR in a newly created position of managing editor for NPR News.

Seattle Times staff reporter Mark Rahner contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company

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