Correction to This Article
The May 3 Reliable Source column incorrectly referred to the upcoming movie co-starring Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt as "Mr. and Mrs. Jones." The correct title is "Mr. and Mrs. Smith."

Bob Edwards Learns NPR Isn't Done Hitting the Off Button

Bob Edwards, XM Radio
"This is clearly just pettiness directed at me," says Bob Edwards of NPR's decision to keep its weekend host Scott Simon from appearing on his SM Satellite Radio show. (John Harrington)
By Richard Leiby
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 3, 2005

Bob Edwards , the longtime "Morning Edition" host who was booted amid much controversy last year from National Public Radio, says he's still getting static from his former employer. Edwards is furious because NPR barred his old colleague Scott Simon , host of "Weekend Morning Edition," from appearing on his XM Satellite Radio show last week to promote a book.

"This is clearly just pettiness directed at me," Edwards told us yesterday. "It baffles me that they are going to these petty extremes, especially when I am still an outspoken supporter of public radio and NPR specifically."

NPR cites a policy against its talent appearing on "competitive" shows. "This is not as dramatic as Bob Edwards would have you believe," network spokeswoman Andi Sporkin told us yesterday. "We see as competitive any host or anchor getting on any other talk show."

Edwards was set to interview Simon on April 25 when NPR execs abruptly informed Simon that he had to cancel. "Mine is the only program that Scott is banned from being on," Edwards said. "He can do all other media outlets."

Reached in Los Angeles, on the early leg of a tour promoting his novel "Pretty Birds," Simon was loath to enter the fray. "NPR can approve or disapprove any outside appearances," he said. "All I can say is that the appearance was set up and then it was canceled or maybe postponed -- maybe it will be considered at another time."

That seems unlikely, given that NPR considers Edwards's show a head-to-head competitor with "Morning Edition." But NPR's Susan Stamberg gave an hour-long interview with Edwards that will be aired today. Stamberg was on to reminisce about her years in public radio and "All Things Considered," which she hosted with Edwards for five years.

Sporkin said Stamberg's appearance was well before the more restrictive policy was adopted.

Confused? So are some NPR veterans. "I was surprised to hear that they said no to Scott but at the same time they said yes to Susan Stamberg," commentator Daniel Schorr told us yesterday. "I find it all a little weird. . . . After they let Bob go, anything is possible. I shrug my shoulders and say, 'What's going to happen next?' "

Stamping Out Tomfoolery

In the future, do-it-yourself stamps such as those featuring Jimmy Hoffa will be canceled.( -
· In the summer of 2004 the entrepreneurs at imagined a world where customers could personalize their postage with images of grandchildren, kissing couples and family pets. The Postal Service granted the company a test run, and it sold more than 2.75 million stamps in under two months -- including a batch bearing Jimmy Hoffa, Ted Kaczynski, and Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, all ordered by pranksters at the investigative Web site

Now the test program is coming back with the Postal Service's blessings -- but don't plan on adding Saddam Hussein to your stamp collection any time soon.

"We hired and screened personnel with expertise in world history and culture" to review all submitted images, CEO Ken McBride told us yesterday. "The restrictions are largely the same as before. Nothing objectionable, [and] the user has to own the copyrights."

He also said last year's embarrassing incident had nothing to do with the program's shutdown, saying it was the preset end of the market test. (Although: "We would have preferred it not have happened.")

Another year-long test launches May 30 and is taking preorders now -- and we're sure nobody will try to slip in Tom DeLay .


· Not retiring: Actress Olympia Dukakis has taken on a new role: opposing President Bush's Social Security overhaul. In a video released yesterday by the Alliance for Retired Americans, the 73-year-old "Steel Magnolias" star says the president is "inciting angst and worry."

· We read so you don't have to: Angelina Jolie remains coy about her relationship with "Mr. and Mrs. Jones" co-star Brad Pitt in an interview in the upcoming Vanity Fair -- "I've been tied to everyone I ever worked with" -- but talks openly about taking lovers. "I think women are much easier about having a lover than a man is," Jolie told the mag. "I had one afternoon where I felt like a woman and came back a better mom. . . . I had a side of me that was more adult, more fulfilled." Also, while she's on the topic: "Men don't really like skinny, do they? Ever since I dated a woman, I know what it is to grab a curve on a woman's body. Skinny's not fine when the lights are low."

With Chris Richards

© 2005 The Washington Post Company