Craig Windham, who delivered the news for two decades as a correspondent and anchor of NPR’s hourly newscasts, the five-minute reports that punctuate the day for millions of listeners in their cars, at their desks and with earbuds in their ears, died Feb. 28 in Winston-Salem, N.C. He was 66.
His death was announced by NPR. The cause was a pulmonary embolism, said his brother, Cris Windham, whom Mr. Windham was visiting when he died.
Mr. Windham joined NPR in 1995 and became a mainstay of the newscasts that air every hour at the top of the hour, and more frequently on the highly rated programs “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered,” on 780 stations across the United States. The newscasts have a weekly audience of 24 million, according to executive producer Robert Garcia.
As anchor, Mr. Windham was the steady-voiced “master of ceremonies,” as Garcia described the role, of broadcasts that apprised listeners of the latest major news developments around the world. He contributed to the reports as a general assignment correspondent, gathering the information, writing the scripts and mixing the sound that he wove into “spots” or “wraps,” as they are known in radio parlance.
In 2014, he covered a Memorial Day ceremony at which President Obama spoke at Arlington National Cemetery. In 41 seconds, listeners heard an excerpt of the president’s address, the music of a military band and an artillery salute. The shots “reverberated over the hillsides that are covered with rows of white marble headstones,” Mr. Windham reported, capturing what the microphone could not pick up.
Robert Craig Windham was born in Washington on June 20, 1949. He grew up in Chevy Chase, Md., and was a 1967 graduate of St. Albans School in the District.
He received a bachelor’s degree in government in 1971 from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va., before beginning his radio work. In the early years of his career, Mr. Windham was a news director at WASH-FM in Washington and a correspondent for the RKO and Unistar radio networks, covering politics, national disasters and the 1991 Persian Gulf War.
At NPR, he was an occasional host and reporter for weekend “All Things Considered” episodes.
Mr. Windham was a Rockville, Md., resident and belonged to St. Francis Episcopal Church in Potomac, Md., where he led mission trips and did other volunteer work with youths. That experience inspired him to study counseling at George Washington University, his brother said. Mr. Windham received a master’s degree in the field in 1998, followed by a doctorate in 2008, and did counseling work with adolescents.
He was the author of “Reggie Lewis: Quiet Grace” (1995), a biography of the Boston Celtics athlete who had a heart condition and died in 1993 at 27.
Mr. Windham’s brother was his only immediate survivor.
In 2012, Mr. Windham reported on the retirement of Discovery, the NASA space shuttle that made a flight over Washington after 39 trips to space.
Recording live to tape, Mr. Windham recounted the spectacle of a space shuttle riding atop a 747 along the Potomac River. He went silent as the aircraft reached its loudest roar. In what Garcia said was an ad-libbed close, Mr. Windham described the “thousands of people watching, looking skyward, taking pictures, saying farewell to Discovery as it makes its final journey into history.”