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Bob Edwards Weekend

April 2008

April 5-6, 2008


  • To mark the 40th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, Bob spoke with several Memphis residents who knew King and were active during the civil rights struggle of the 1960’s. All three guests touch on the city’s sanitation workers’ strike which brought Dr. King to Memphis. Maxine Smith led the city’s chapter of the NAACP from 1962 until 1996. Frank McRae was a local white minister who supported the sanitation workers marching for their rights and dignity. Benjamin Hooks was a close friend of King’s and went on to serve as national executive director of the NAACP. Martin Luther King was killed 40 years ago in Memphis, Tennessee.



  • Steve Coll won the Pulitzer Prize for Ghost Wars, his book about the origins of Al Qaeda. Now he's written a book about the origins of al Qaeda’s leader. Coll’s new book is called The bin Ladens: An Arabian Family in the American Century.
  • Bob is joined by our regular wordsmith Michael Quinion. This time we learn the roots of some phrases that are well-known, newly-coined and out of use.




April 12-13, 2008


  • Dissatisfied with the electric guitars sold in the 1930's, guitarist and inventor Les Paul came up with what he called "The Log." It was a bridge, pickup and guitar neck attached to a piece of fence post – and it worked. Paul’s innovations made rock and roll possible and his playing got him recognized as one of the 20th century's guitar masters. Bob visits with him at the New York club where he stills plays a weekly gig with the Les Paul Trio.
  • Bob takes a tour of the Gibson guitar factory in Memphis, Tennessee and learns more about the company’s most popular model -- the Les Paul Standard.


  • Writer Tobias Wolff came to national attention with his1989 memoir This Boy's Life and has gone on to produce volumes of short stories and two novels. His most recent collection, Our Story Begins: New and Selected Stories combines some of Wolff’s classics along with 10 new tales.
  • Stephen Root is one of Hollywood's hardest-working character actors. He often works in movies by the Coen brothers, and is probably best known for his role in the cult comedy hit Office Space. For his latest project, Root joins George Clooney and Renée Zellweger in “Leatherheads,” a comedy about football's early days.


April 19-20, 2008



  • Errol Morris calls his new documentary a nonfiction horror movie. His starting point for Standard Operating Procedure was the infamous photographs from Abu Ghraib. And to get the stories behind those images, Morris spent hours interviewing the people who appear IN--and who TOOK--those photos. Errol Morris has also made the Oscar-winning documentary The Fog of War, A Brief History of Time and The Thin Blue Line.
  • Bob talks with Jeanne Hatch and Stan Goldman, members of the Young at Heart Chorus and with founder and director Bob Cilman. The average age of the chorus is 80, so when they perform songs such as “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” the lyrics often take on new meanings. The group’s latest CD is called Mostly Live and there’s a new documentary in theaters now called Young at Heart.



  • Bob talks with’s sports analyst King Kaufman about the major league baseball season and the NBA playoffs.
  • Peter Cooper is the senior music writer for the Nashville Tennessean, but he’s also worked as a music producer and a session player. Now he’s released his own solo debut called “Mission Door.” Cooper is also credited with “re-discovering” our next guest.
  • Fayssoux McLean started out singing harmony vocals on early Emmylou Harris songs. Now McLean has released her own solo debut and the two have switched roles. Emmylou sings back up on a few songs on McLean’s CD called "Early." You can find more information about both albums at the Red Beet Records website.


April 26-27, 2008


  • Broadcasting pioneer Edward R. Murrow was born 100 years ago on April 25th. Bob remembers his journalistic hero with an essay, complete with clips of some of Murrow’s best-known reports.

  • Forty years after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., Michael Eric Dyson evaluates the fate of Black America -- how it has advanced, where it hasn't, and how black leaders can best affect racial justice going forward. Dyson speaks with Bob about the candidacy of Barack Obama, the comments of Rev. Jeremiah Wright and about the history and legacy of hip-hop culture and rap music. Dyson’s most recent book is titled April 4, 1968: Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Death and How It Changed America.


  • Being the son of a famed historian and presidential speechwriter has its perks – one was having access to all living presidential speechwriters. For his new book titled White House Ghosts, Robert Schlesinger draws on more than 100 hours of interviews examining how presidential speechwriting has changed over the years.

  • British comedian Eddie Izzard's big break came when his stand-up routine Dressed to Kill aired on HBO; it won him two Emmy awards and an American audience. This spring, Izzard starts his second season on FX's The Riches with actress Minnie Driver and begins a nation-wide stand-up tour.