October 4th, 1957. Forty-seven years ago today, the Soviet Union successfully launched the world’s first artificial satellite. Sputnik was only about the size of a basketball, weighed just 183 pounds, took 98 minutes to orbit the earth, and only stayed in orbit for three months—but the Soviet success stunned the West and while it lasted, Sputnik’s eerie radio signal was a constant reminder the United States trailed in the space race.
It didn’t take long for the U.S. to surpass the Soviets in space. Thousands of satellites have followed Sputnik including the two by which you hear XM Radio. They are named Rock and Roll and sometimes they sound like this:
(XM logo #10)
Today, XM Public Radio, Channel 133, has a launch of its own. The first Bob Edwards Show begins…now.
So many things to say, on this fifteenth anniversary of the very first aired Bob Edwards Show. I remember waiting breathlessly for 8:00am EDT, having purchased my radio and subscription a month early so I could begin listening to XM Public Radio its first day, but all of it leading up to Bob Edwards coming back to my weekdays.
I listened to Bob on weekday mornings for decades. I listened when I had a “day job,” he was my companion throughout the morning when I began to work at home, listening to KUOW radio which aired Morning Edition for six hours, until noon eastern. I once joked to Bob that my daughter knew his voice better than mine, and she probably liked it more since he had never said “no” to her.
Then NPR did the unthinkable, and removed him as the host of the program he made famous. And my mornings were…not right. Heaven help me, no one screws with my mornings. I was furious. I stopped listening to NPR, and truthfully haven’t returned even now.
Then Bob announced (ok, NPR announced, as part of the continuing clown show surrounding Bob’s removal) that he was moving to XM Satellite Radio to begin a new show there. So first I had to figure out what the heck XM was, then I had to figure out where to buy a special radio, then I had to pay them a monthly fee, then…I got to listen to Bob every weekday, and my mornings finally made sense again.
I was so excited, I recorded that first show so I could savor it again. Walter Cronkite, in this program, suggests to Bob that he should do another one, and he did; I figured Uncle Walter was also telling me I should record another one, so I did. And another. And another…until, eleven years later, I had recorded them all. (Ok, ok, I’ll admit there were a few kerfuffles over the years, which I filled in with either the on-demand online channel or Audible. But a lot fewer than you’d expect for eleven years, and yes, I even recorded the “Best of Bob” repeats. And I made a digital copy from XM Online of the weekend marathon of rerun shows. Truly, as I’ve said more than once; “Biggest Fan,” “Cyberstalker,” it’s a fine line…) It’s mostly those recordings I made over the years that you hear here on the blog…a collection that is almost certainly the only complete archive of the program outside of SiriusXM’s servers. All because I recorded that first show.