NPR Bans Hosts from Bob Edwards XM Show

Bob Edwards Learns NPR Isn’t Done Hitting the Off Button (WaPo, C3)

Bob Edwards , the longtime “Morning Edition” host who was booted amid much controversy last year from National Public Radio, says he’s still getting static from his former employer. Edwards is furious because NPR barred his old colleague Scott Simon , host of “Weekend Morning Edition,” from appearing on his XM Satellite Radio show last week to promote a book. “This is clearly just pettiness directed at me,” Edwards told us yesterday. “It baffles me that they are going to these petty extremes, especially when I am still an outspoken supporter of public radio and NPR specifically.”

NPR cites a policy against its talent appearing on “competitive” shows. “This is not as dramatic as Bob Edwards would have you believe,” network spokeswoman Andi Sporkin told us yesterday. “We see as competitive any host or anchor getting on any other talk show.” Edwards was set to interview Simon on April 25 when NPR execs abruptly informed Simon that he had to cancel. “Mine is the only program that Scott is banned from being on,” Edwards said. “He can do all other media outlets.”

Quite bizarre. It’s hardly unusual for major media figures to appear on news shows on other networks. Larry King, Charlie Rose, and others routinely interview anchors and other prominent personalities. Usually, the only ones viewed as “competitors” are those whose shows air during the same time slot.

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  1. Kappiy says:

    This isn’t unprecedented–in Chicago, for instance, the broadcasters for the baseball team owned by the Tribune can’t appear on non-Tribune outlets.

    In the case of NPR,its pretty absurd–it’s not like Scott SImon is some big star or, for that matter, anyone actually listens to Bob Edwards on satellite radio.

    I can’t think of anything more soporific than listening to the extremely dull Bob Edwards interview the exceptionally dull Scott Simon.

  2. chris says:

    For what it’s worth, I was told by some NPRniks that Bob Edwards was canned for being a lazy slob prima donna. Gee, kind like Katie Couric.

  3. Pepper says:

    Not true. Bob was “canned” from Morning Edition because management wanted to go for a younger audience. Plus it’s unfair to characterize someone who gets up every night at 1am and doesn’t get off work until 12pm as lazy. Notice they had to get TWO hosts to fill his job.

  4. Steve says:

    Pepper’s oft repeated, and entirely nonsensical, canards notwithstanding….
    Edwards made frequent appearances on behalf of local NPR stations and anyone who heard him in Q&A knows that he actively resisted both working with a co-host and getting out of the studio to do stories, issues over which NPR and Edwards had wrestled frequently. The news landscape has changed pretty dramatically in the last 25 years and what worked when Morning Edition first went on the air had long since gone stale. NPR is no longer some niche broadcaster that can happily survive on contributions from a narrow band of listenters. It’s in head to head competition for listeners with an increasing number of news and entertainments outlets. Edward’s hidebound stance indiated that he made the fatal mistake of believing that he was more important than the job. Sometimes you do what the boss says for no other reason than the fact that he signs your check, a fact most adults who haven’t had their jobs practically guaranteed by fiat for 25 years recognize.
    He was fired by Jay Kernis who helped start the program, was instrumental in putting Edwards in the anchor seat and, when he left NPR, admonished higher-ups not to mess with a successful formula. When he returned several years later he recognized just how dated and inflexible the program and coverage had become and was determined to change it. So much for the ‘ corporate suit’ argument.
    Edward tossed more softballs during interviews than CNN’s Larry King and was certainly more disengaged.
    If NPR were out for ‘ younger demographic’ they certainly wouldn’t have replaced good old Bob with Renee Montagne who is only 1 year younger. Nor would Totenberg, Stamberg, Roberts, Wertheimer, Schoor, Simon, Adams, McPartland and God knows how many others who receive continued support and air time, and range in age from their 50’s to their 80’s, be available for Pepper to hear.
    Let’s not allow the apparently abysmal manner in which it was handled overshadow the fact that it was long overdue.