Friday, November 5, 2004. It was the twenty-fifth anniversary of Morning Edition, but NPR listeners heard a most subdued silver anniversary broadcast. Cohosts of six months barely mentioned the importance of that day for a program another guy had hosted for twenty-four-and-ahalf years. I mentioned it on my show, however, and congratulated Carl Kasell and Ellen McDonnell, who’d been with program since its first day back in 1979.
The very next night I was in Chicago being inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame. No one from NPR attended the ceremony. I was inducted as an XM guy, though The Bob Edwards Show was only a month old.
Being in the Hall, I feel a sense of responsibility to put on programs that will leave listeners feeling I’m worthy of the honor. To do less is to invite mockery: “Hmm, doesn’t sound like Hall of Fame material to me!” I’ve tried to keep my voters from thinking they made a mistake.
I gave my producers a list of people I wanted to interview, and the names fell into four categories: people who’d been very engaging guests for my listeners on NPR, people I’d always longed to interview, people I knew to be capable of sustaining interest for a long period, and old people. Yes, I deliberately went after potential guests in their nineties. Broadcasting covets the eighteen- to thirty-five-year-old listeners, and here I was recruiting nonagenarian guests. This is the beauty of