That Familiar Smoky Baritone

bob.jpgEvery so often Washington’s third- (or is it fourth- or fifth-?) place newspaper has something worth reading. Today, the Times of Washington talks with NPR’s former Voice-of-the-Morning Bob Edwards.

He sounds quite excited about the possibilities of the hot new medium of paid satellite radio, where he’s hosting a daily show on XM Satellite Radio. “The atmosphere here is much like the early days of NPR…. It’s much looser. The question is: Will they do what NPR did? Will they start taking themselves dreadfully seriously?”

He says that one of his largest frustrations is not knowing how many people enjoy his “deep, smoky baritone” each day. Whereas at “Morning Edition,” he drew about 13 million listeners a day, XM only has 3 million subscribers and no real way to track how many of them are tuning in to any particular show. “We have no idea who is listening. We really don’t. And we’re all wondering about it,” he said.

For Edwards, XM is a change in a lot of ways–and not just because he now sleeps four hours later each day. He was so strongly identified with NPR for so long that entering his name into Google nearly a year after his forced departure, all of the top references are still about NPR. XM only gets one of the first ten entries.

In the WT interview, Edwards also offers a strong endorsement of his replacements at Morning Edition, Steve Inskeep and Renee Montagne: “They’re fine.” Nothing quite cuts like the damning-with-faint-praise model of reaction, does it?