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Bob Edwards says goodbye to 'Morning Edition'

Long-time host can't hide disappointment about ouster
/ Source: The Associated Press

Bob Edwards signed off Friday after nearly 25 years as host of National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition,” thanking the “hundreds of people who have done their best to make me sound like I know what I’m talking about.”

Edwards’ removal as one of the nation’s most recognizable radio voices launched a petition drive and protests, but didn’t change the decision by public radio executives to reassign him.

Edwards will become a senior correspondent of NPR News and his first report, about the new World War II memorial, will be heard on Monday.

He ended his run on Friday by interviewing Charles Osgood of CBS News. Osgood was the first person he spoke to when “Morning Edition” began its run in 1979.

“You’re the alpha and the omega,” Edwards said.

He has been the only host of the show, which is broadcast live from 5 to 7 a.m. Eastern time. Edwards, 57, didn’t hide his disappointment at the reassignment, saying he had been looking forward to celebrating the show’s 25th anniversary this fall. NPR said it made the change because it was trying to refresh the network’s broadcasts.

A permanent successor hasn’t been named, but Steve Inskeep and Renee Montagne will fill in starting Monday.

His final broadcast was typically low-key and erudite. It included reports on school desegregation in Boston, insurance payments to the World Trade Center developer and whether John Kerry’s Catholicism would be a campaign issue.

Edwards interviewed ABC’s Ted Koppel about Friday’s special “Nightline” broadcasting the names of the Americans killed in the Iraq war, and the two journalists marveled at how they seldom ran into each other.

Koppel’s show ends each night after midnight, less than an hour before Edwards rose at 1 a.m. to prepare for another broadcast.

Asked by Koppel what he was going to do, Edwards said, “I can watch ‘Nightline’!”