Flagship radio program of National Public Radio, drawing its largest audience--13 million listeners.
The program, in a news magazine format, airs daily for two hours.* In addition to current news, it provides background analysis, commentary, and coverage of arts, business, science, and sports. It is carried on 600 affiliated stations across the United States. Although NPR's afternoon news program, All Things Considered, predates and has won more awards than Morning Edition, ME has more influence: in the United States, only one other radio program draws more daily listeners (the syndicated Rush Limbaugh show).
Bob Edwards hosted the program from its inception in 1979 until April 2004. Since his departure, the program is co-hosted by Renee Montagne from NPR West in Culver City, California and Steve Inskeep from NPR's Studio 2-A in Washington, DC.
In its first year, Morning Edition was honored for broadcasting excellence with the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award and the George Polk Award. It also won a George Foster Peabody Award in 1999.
The theme music for the show was composed by B.J. Liederman. For 17 years, the music featured an arrangement by Jim Hughes of soothing French horns. In 1999, that changed: the theme changed to an jazz guitar arrangement, intended to "lighten up" the music. Chuck Lowe is the guitarist. In a 1999 interview, Liederman confessed that he had written lyrics to the theme music:
I hate to get up in the morning
Please don't wake me up this morning
Let me stay in bed and sleep.
I don't like to daydream.
The world can turn without me today
And if you wake me up I could say
That we will not be friends for long
we used to dream forever
floating around like a feather
when will those delightful dreams come back again
tell me when
Oh, damn it Bob, will you shut the hell up?
No news, no features, I've had enough
Who wrote your great theme song?
* Many NPR stations program Morning Edition for more than two hours a day: they will repeat one or more hours, with live NPR news feeds inserted on the hour for breaking headlines.
"About Morning Edition." National Public Radio Web site. <http://www.npr.org/programs/morning/inside/> (15 July 2004)
"Morning Edition's 20th Anniversary." National Public Radio Web site.
<http://www.npr.org/programs/morning/anniversary/history.html> (15 July 2004)
"Morning Edition." Wikipedia. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morning_Edition> (15 July 2004)
Neil Conan. "New Morning Edition Theme." Weekly Edition (NPR); January 09, 1999; <http://www.npr.org/ramfiles/weed/19990109.weed.01.ram> (15 July 2004)
Tim Emmons. "Now that Morning Edition has your attention." Current12 April 2004. <http://www.current.org/npr/npr0406edwards4.shtml> (15 July 2004)