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Morning Edition Turns 40!

40th Anniversary of Morning Edition

Listen to the opening segment from November 5th, 1979:

Forty years ago today, NPR aired the very first episode of a morning news program that would bring a new style of storytelling to the early-drive-time airwaves. The new show planned to replicate the success of NPR's afternoon drive-time program All Things Considered, which debuted in 1971.

But what should they call it? Morning Gas? Starting Line? Or maybe Wake Up to the World?

See the internal NPR survey seeking name suggestions before they settled on Morning Edition:

Memo from Larry Lichty, former NPR director of audience research and evaluation, seeking name suggestions for a new morning news program.
Memo from Larry Lichty, former NPR director of audience research and evaluation, seeking name suggestions for a new morning news program.

Morning Edition's first show, hosted by Bob Edwards and Barbara Hoctor, included an interview with a young actor named Martin Sheen about Apocalypse Now; a report on a failed prison escape by James Earl Ray, the man who assassinated Martin Luther King Jr.; and a story about Rhodesia, a country that no longer exists.

Since then, nearly every weekday Morning Edition has taken listeners around the country and the world with two hours of multi-faceted stories that inform, challenge and occasionally amuse. Morning Edition is now the most listened-to news radio program in the country, broadcast through 829 Member stations with over 13.1 million weekly listeners.

To date, Morning Edition has had 7 hosts, and about 11,269 episodes! It has also garnered broadcasting's highest honors — including the George Foster Peabody Award and the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award.

In April of 2017, NPR launched "Up First," a 10-minute morning news podcast with lively conversation about the day's top news stories produced with the same journalistic DNA of Morning Edition. Up First currently has the largest audience for an NPR podcast.

Learn more about the history of Morning Edition: HERE

Produced and distributed by NPR in Washington, D.C., Morning Edition draws on reporting from its network of reporters, editors, and correspondents around the country and around the world, as well as from NPR Member station reporters in hundreds of station newsrooms across the country, and independent producers, reporters and commentators throughout the public radio system.

Join us in celebrating this milestone and thank you to listeners for making Morning Edition part of their day.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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