to feature newsman Edwards
NPR radio commentator
to speak at 30th annual even
t in Frankfort, Ky.
Helen E. McKinney
(November 2011) Bob Edwards has long been a radio
icon to many in the industry. He is most proud of his accomplishments
with National Public Radio and the affect it has had on millions of
For four decades, Edwards has made radio his career, interviewing more
than 30,000 people and attracting thousands of devoted fans.
I dont know how to do anything else, Edwards said
during an October telephone interview.
Edwards is from Louisville, Ky., and began his career in radio as a
college student at the University of Louisville. He received his first
big break in the business when he got the job of cuing the commercial
break for WHEL (now WNDA-AM) in New Albany, Ind. At this job, he worked
the board as a dee-jay, covered the news, sold ads and even fixed the
Radio was all I ever wanted to do, said Edwards. I
was fascinated by radio. When I was growing up, we had a big Zenith
in the living room. I remember all the voices that came out of it. I
just wanted to be one of those voices.
For Edwards, Radio was still a very big deal when I was a kid.
Television was still in its infancy. There was Milton Berle, and not
much else. Later, television became huge, with three major networks.
Saturday, Nov. 12,
at Frankfort Convention
Center Special Events
Special Signing Event: Douglas Boyd, author
of Crawfish Bottom, will provide a brief presentation
and sign copies of his new book at the Orlando Brown House from
5 p.m. to 6 p.m. as a precursor to the Kentucky Book Fair and
part of Downtown Frankforts Candlelight Tour.
Childrens Day: The Kentucky Book Fair will
hold its first Childrens Day from 9.a.m. to 2 p.m. More
than 35 children and Young Adult authors are scheduled to attend,
including George Ella Lyon, Mary Wayne Adams, Marcia Thornton
Jones, Leigh Anne Florence, Alison Hart, Loretta Ellsworth and
Kristin Tubb. Admission is free.
Saturday, Nov. 12
Banned and Challenged Books Exhibit: St. Catharine
College will present selections from the American Library Associations
List of Top 100 Banned and Challenged Books (2000-2009) during
the Kentucky Book Fair at the Frankfort Convention Center. The
morning session starts at 11 a.m. and the afternoon session starts
at 1 p.m. Visit the St. Catherine College table at the Book Fair
for location information.
Limited Signing Times: Frank Bill will be signing
after his noon reading. Arjia Rinpoche will be signing after his
1 p.m. reading.
Lunch With Bob Edwards: Meet and greet radio
journalist Bob Edwards at noon at a specially ticketed event at
the Capital Plaza Hotel hosted by the Kentucky Book Fair. Francis
Nash, of WUGO and WGOH radio stations, will interview Edwards
about his life and new book, The Voice in the Box.
Tickets are $27 and available at email@example.com or online at
Book Fair Readings
10 a.m.: Thomas Freese
11 a.m.: Kevin McQueen
Noon: Frank Bill
1 p.m.: Arjia Rinpoche
2 p.m.: Ellyn Bache
3 p.m.: Peggy DeKay
Upper Arena Area B
10 a.m.: Richard Taylor
11 a.m.: Frederick Smock
Noon: Leah Stewart
1 p.m.: Marianne Walker
2 p.m. Stephen Zimmer
3 p.m.: Jan Sparkman
At the Frankfort Convention Center
9:15 a.m.: Melissa McEuen (sponsored by Transylvania
University. Making War-Making Women
10:15 a.m.: Liz Curtise Higgs, Mine is
11:30 a.m.: Meadowlark Lemon, Trust Your
12:30 p.m.: Kim Edwards, The Lake of
1:45 p.m.: Robert Morgan, Lions of the
2:45 p.m.: Vitao Babe Parilli & Dick
Burdette, Kentucky Babe - The Babe Parilli Story
3:45 p.m.: David King, Death in the City of
are free and open to the public
Special Panel Discussion
At the Old State Capital House Chamber
Noon: The Kentucky Book Fair and the Kentucky Historical
Society Present: The Civil War: After 150 years, Why Are
We Still Fascinated?
Moderator: Dr. James Klotter, State Historian of Ky.
Panelists: Charles Bracelen Flood, Brian D. McKnight, James
A. Ramage, Andrea Watkins, Donald A. Clark
Louisville-Jefferson County, Ky., area authors participating:
Brad Asher, Rick Bell, Winfrey Blackburn, Scott Gill, John Boel,
Rodney Daugherty, Peggy DeKay, Kadie Engstrom, Thomas Freese,
Liz Curtis Higgs, Blaine Hudson, Ken Clay, Mervin Aubespin, David
Inman, Nana Lampton, Will Lavender, James Markert, Lori A. Moore,
Bill Noel, Mary ODell, Lisa Pisterman, Sharon Receveur,
Tavia Cathcart, Nancy Russman, Fred Smock, and Sheri L. Wright.
Kentucky Book Fair Information: Admission is
free and open to the public. Limited seating is available. Visit
or contact Connie Crowe at firstname.lastname@example.org.
But Edwards decided to devote his life to radio and to
accomplish the same thing through radio that journalists were doing
on the small screen everyday. During his job at WHEL, Edwards was drafted
and spent a year in Seoul, Korea, with the American Forces Korea Network,
where he produced and anchored news shows for American troops.
This prepared Edwards for the most important opportunity of his career.
In February 1974 he joined a young National Public Radio broadcast.
His first job was as associate producer for the news, making him NPRs
only newscaster. In six-months time, he became co-host of NPRs
flagship evening news program, All Things Considered.
Producers had decided to put together a morning program and hired a
staff to produce a pilot program, said Edwards. It was generally
agreed by all that the broadcast was awful and everyone was fired.
But All Things Considered was just a stepping-stone for
Edwards. It gave him the chance to be a driving force in launching Morning
Edition in 1979. This program beat out all other public radio programs
and boasted more listeners than morning network television programs
Edwards will be returning home to Kentucky to appear at the 30th annual
Kentucky Book Fair from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12, at the
Frankfort (Ky.) Convention Center. The Kentucky Book Fair will be playing
host to a lunch with Edwards at noon at the Capital Plaza Hotel. Edwards
will be interviewed by Francis Nash of WGOH-WUGO radio about his book,
A Voice in the Box: My Life in Radio.
Edwards said he penned the book because I wanted to tell my story.
It covers some of his most memorable interviews from the time he worked
in broadcasting in the U.S. Army to graduate school in Washington, D.C.,
to his long employment with NPR.
Its about my life, but also a history of the last 43 years
in journalism, radio in particular.
The memoir chronicles an insiders account of the world of American
media and its transformation through 40 years of evolving public journalism.
In the beginning of radio broadcasting, even radio did the news,
But in the 1980s, many changes began to take place with the advent of
cable television. Networks closed a lot of overseas bureaus,
he said. Modern technology such as satellites and computers encouraged
public radio to become what he termed a great news source.
Edwards said that he has attended the Kentucky Book Fair in the past.
It is a great event; very well done. He said he is looking
forward to returning to his home state and the book fair to re-connect
with Kentucky authors.
The Kentucky Book Fair has grown tremendously over the years since it
began in 1981, said Connie Crowe, event spokesperson.
At the time, It wasnt a common occurrence for authors to
do signings in smaller towns, and even with the advent of book store
signings in the larger cities, you still didnt see a lot of this
Crowe said it was probably the first time that a number of authors had
been brought together to sign books for their buying public, at least
for the central part of the state. Kentucky is a literary state
despite the misconceptions that abound.
Authors such as Edwards give us credence and a sense of importance
in that the Kentucky Book Fair brings quality writers to the table,
said Crowe. The book fair gives the reading public more of a one-on-one
opportunity with the authors, she added.
Lemon of the Harlem Globetrotters basketball
team and Louisvilles Liz Curtis Higgs also will
appear as featured
guests at the Book Fair.
Having survived not quite as long as Edwards media
career, but nevertheless for 30 years in the book publishing industry,
the book fair has given organizers and the state a reputation
for delivering the goods, said Crowe. The way we treat our
authors with such love and respect contributes to our
Crowe says many people still enjoy the tangible tactile experience
of buying a physical book and having that interaction with the author.
This compares to what Edwards said was the best part of his job in broadcasting:
interaction in the form of interviews with so many diverse people. Meeting
the people, learning from them and sharing what he has learned
has been the highlight of his career, he said.
One of his most memorable interviews was with Greg Boyle, a Jesuit priest
who worked with Latino gangs in East Los Angeles. Boyle was instrumental
in working with gang members and trying to help them have a good life.
He was so good at telling stories of who he had helped save from
gang life and who is now gone, said Edwards of Boyle. Thats
what radio is telling stories.
from Bob Edwards book provided by publisher
Edwards interviewed Randy Newman
on March 30, 2007, before a live audience
at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle
to benefit public radio station KPLU.
Edwards counts his greatest accomplishment as having
been part of a very large group that helped build NPR, and having established
it as a great source for programming and journalism.
Edwards was replaced in 2004 as host of NPRs Morning Edition
after nearly 25 years with the program. He was inducted into the National
Radio Hall of Fame the same year. Edwards now hosts The Bob Edwards
Show on Sirius XM Radio and lives in Arlington, Va.
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