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'Morning Edition' Co-Hosts Say Goodbye To David Greene

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Rachel Martin.

NOEL KING, HOST:

I'm Noel King.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. One of the voices who got us through 2020 is moving on. Our co-host David Greene is on the air for his last day at NPR News.

KING: Yeah, so people who meet NPR journalists for the first time sometimes say, oh, I hear you on the radio so much I feel like I already know you. The thing is, the three of us do know David Greene.

MARTIN: And the person we know in real life is very much like the one that you've met on the radio. He is determined. He is generous. He is thoughtful and absolutely committed to the truth.

KING: So let's tell people a little bit about your time at NPR. David, you have been here for 15 years?

GREENE: I think your math is correct. It's amazing.

KING: All right (laughter).

GREENE: It has flown by. But, yes, 15 years.

KING: And you started out covering the White House as a White House correspondent.

GREENE: Yeah.

INSKEEP: Started at the top - veteran newspaper journalist. But I remember this, David. Radio was new to you, and you seemed to pick it up instantly. For the past decade or so, David has co-hosted this program, and he was brilliant from the beginning at the high-wire act that is live broadcasting.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

GREENE: From NPR News, this is live Special Coverage. I'm David Greene.

INSKEEP: And I'm Steve Inskeep. We're continuing to try to learn more about two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing, one of whom was...

David, I think you remember this day - appalling story in 2013. And it was happening on a particular day at NPR News, the very day that we were supposed to be moving to a new building during the broadcast.

GREENE: Yeah, we were closing down the building and moving to a new headquarters that day. And we - the clock was set for noon for the satellite feed to go down and the building, the studio, to be completely shut down. But we had to stay live on the air. And so if I remember, I think you jumped into a taxicab at, like, 11:30, ran to the new building, got things going. I closed the broadcast in the old studio...

INSKEEP: Yeah.

GREENE: ...And said good night and rushed over and, I think, like, asked the cab driver to go as quickly as possible, like in a movie, to get there and join you again in the studio to keep things going. That was extraordinary.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

GREENE: It's been hours now. The authorities continue to tell residents of Boston and the surrounding communities to stay in their homes, both to be safe and...

KING: David, I have to say, the thing that I love about you, the thing that has always impressed me, is that you're not just willing to go anywhere to cover a story; you actually want to go everywhere to cover stories. I know that in 2011, you volunteered to cover the uprising in Libya. The tough part of that was it was not that easy to get into or out of or around Libya. And there's this one piece of tape that you sent back that I remember so clearly.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

GREENE: This is one very locked-down border. We're - just crossed out of Tunisia to talk to the Libyan officials.

Salaam.

JIM WILDMAN, BYLINE: Salaam.

GREENE: Is English OK? Or...

(CROSSTALK)

WILDMAN: OK.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: (Non-English language spoken).

GREENE: That was an intimidating hand-wave - go away. Well, we were just refused at the Libyan border. The guards were - they were, I guess, polite at first. But when we tried to ask too many questions, we got the stiff shoo-away with a gun sort of motion towards us. And now it's back to Tunisia.

(SOUNDBITE OF DOGS BARKING)

KING: That's the stuff that usually just doesn't make it into the story, and I love that you put it on air. You know...

GREENE: Well, and I love that you brought it up. I mean, the other voice you heard there, we should just say, is our colleague Jim Wildman, whose idea was for me to just talk into a microphone in his shirt pocket. I mean, that is radio at its best.

MARTIN: In this work, we talk sometimes about range, which means, oh, that host or that reporter's ability to cover, say, the uprising in Libya and sometimes, even just days later, have a conversation with an author or a film director or a musician. And you do this so seamlessly, my friend. We hear you as a person. We hear your personality. We hear your vulnerability. You are so present in these conversations. And I'm thinking of one in particular. You know this is coming - I'm talking about your quality time with Barry Manilow.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED NPR BROADCAST)

GREENE: Before I let you go, you wouldn't fulfill my bucket list and sing a bar or two of "Mandy" with me, would you?

BARRY MANILOW: With you.

GREENE: Yeah.

(SOUNDBITE OF PIANO PLAYING)

GREENE: (Laughter) Oh, my goodness.

MANILOW: OK, ready?

DAVID GREENE AND BARRY MANILOW: (Singing) Oh, Mandy. And you came and you gave without taking. But I sent you away, oh, Mandy.

MANILOW: Well, you're in tune.

GREENE: You're very generous.

(LAUGHTER)

GREENE: Wow.

MANILOW: That was great.

(LAUGHTER)

MARTIN: That is the best. Were you hesitant at all in that moment? David, were...

GREENE: Yes, I was hesitant. I thought it was the most insane thing I ever did. But you convince yourself, like, OK, this is the one moment that could ever happen.

INSKEEP: Yeah, not so hesitant that you didn't go and...

(LAUGHTER)

GREENE: Fair enough.

INSKEEP: I think that's actually - maybe that's a theme for David Greene, and always been, as a colleague. (Singing) Well, you came and you gave - come on, guys.

RACHEL MARTIN, NOEL KING AND STEVE INSKEEP: (Singing) ...Without taking. And we're sending you away, oh, David.

(LAUGHTER)

GREENE: Oh, wow.

MARTIN: That was really special (laughter).

GREENE: That is the best send-off ever. Oh, my God. Can I say a thing? Am I allowed to say a thing?

MARTIN: No, 'cause you're not done yet.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HOW DO YOU LIKE ME NOW?!")

TOBY KEITH: (Singing) Living in your radio - how do you like me now?

MARTIN: David Greene loves karaoke. This was one of the songs that he used to perform when we would go out and do that together with big crowds. And as a parting gift, David...

KEITH: Hey, David. This is Toby Keith. It's been great having you living in our radios. We sure are going to miss you and wish you all the very best. Keep on singing, buddy.

MARTIN: That is Toby Keith.

GREENE: Oh, my - are you kidding me?

MARTIN: No.

(LAUGHTER)

GREENE: Well, now I'm speechless and tearing up a little bit. I'm going to miss you all so much. Thank you for this. Sitting here in a virtual room with the four of us, it makes me just want to remind people that, like, all these moments and memories that we - our listeners hear on the air, I mean, it's like, there are so many people behind them who make this all happen, and I'm just so grateful for all of them. I'm so grateful to our listeners. I'm so grateful to the people whose stories we tell because they trust us, and they're willing to be so vulnerable.

And, like, at the end of the day, we're storytellers, and we're listeners. And that's just so important. And I have learned from each of you so much in this job, and I have been so much better at this job by listening and watching all of you. And I just feel really lucky not just to have been colleagues, but to be friends with all of you. And that is going to be the case forever.

INSKEEP: Thank you.

GREENE: So this is a great send-off. Thank you.

INSKEEP: Thank you, David.

KING: Thanks, David.

MARTIN: Should we do this?

INSKEEP: Now, we need to take a break, I think, to, like, dab the eye and so forth. So I guess we're going to do this one more time together.

MARTIN: Yeah.

INSKEEP: It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

KING: I'm Noel King.

MARTIN: I'm Rachel Martin.

GREENE: And I'm David Greene.

(APPLAUSE)

MARTIN: Yay.

KING: Yay.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HOW DO YOU LIKE ME NOW?!")

KEITH: (Singing) How do you like me now, now that I'm on my way? Do you still think I'm crazy, standing here today? I couldn't make you love me, but I always dreamed about... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.