From Seattle writer and consultant Matt Rosenberg...

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Dinosaur Bob Lumbers Out The Door

May 15, 2004

"What took NPR so long?" to get rid of old shoe "Morning Edition" host Bob Edwards, asks the operations director of a Washington, D.C. AM news-talk station.

I have to agree with Randall Blomquist's assessment in Opinion Journal. Journalists and fans gnashing their teeth over Edwards' ouster as host are in denial.

Mr. Edwards, for all his virtues and basso profundo voice, was a dinosaur, a majestic radio beast who lumbered mightily through his era and, alas, too far beyond it. ....Information-based morning shows typically succeed on the strength of their personalities, content and pacing. Mr. Edwards had a strong appeal, but he had become an old shoe--familiar, comfy and unlikely to bring in a lot of new customers. Need proof he had plateaued? His signature segment--the thing his fans still rave about--was his weekly visit with sportscaster Red Barber. Barber died in 1992.

Mr. Edwards's laid-back manner and laissez-faire interviewing style were a perfect fit for the stately pace of "Morning Edition." But the NPR suits are no doubt wondering if a leisurely stroll through the morning news garden can continue to appeal to time-starved morning commuters. The most successful news-driven morning shows keep up a brisk pace and focus on "Topic A" subjects, the stories that interest the largest share of the target audience.

They also provide a large amount of local content, something missing from the morning slot on most public radio stations.

Posted by Matt Rosenberg at May 15, 2004 01:11 PM

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