NPR has lost one of its most distinctive and recognizable voices. Wade Goodwyn, a longtime national news reporter, passed away on Thursday from cancer. Age 63 is what he is.
Wade has reported on his native Texas and the American Southwest for more than 25 years. He has covered the Oklahoma City bombing, school shootings, hurricanes, the trial of the American sniper, and the Boy Scout sex abuse crisis. Await the news headlines.
NPR CEO John Lansing wrote in an email to staff, “He was one of NPR’s signature voices for generations of public radio listeners, myself included.” In addition to having a voice that is instantly recognizable, Wade is a superb reporter and a truly remarkable storyteller. You can tell that we are watching you from one of his stories’ opening lines. Join the experts of their trade on a journey. It’s a wonderful treat, no matter the subject.
The mellow bass from Wade draws the listener a little bit closer to the radio. His voice was previously compared to “warm butter melted on roasted sweet corn” in one profile. However, Goodwin thinks that what matters most is what he does. He is correct. His voice may be animated, but the way he listens enables him to listen with words. Consider this remarkable passage from his coverage of Hurricane Rita in 2005:
“In Louisiana, even if you’re a broad-chested National Guard, you hug your NASCAR teddy bear when the big hit comes.”
NPR editor-in-chief Steve Drummond stated, “You know Wade is a poet. “What he says sparkles because of the little detail, the little color, or the little sound he sees in the field.”
Wade Goodwyn’s career in journalism began with radio storytelling. As the son of renowned historian Lawrence Goodwin, who was involved in the civil rights struggle and wrote books about grassroots populism in America, he majored in history at the University of Texas.
Wade relocated to New York City to work as a political organizer after graduating from college. He developed an addiction to NPR member station WNYC there. In 2016, he admitted to Current that he was so enthralled by the voices and stories he heard that he chose to work as a freelancer for public radio in Texas, where rent is less expensive.
In 1993, he was hired to cover a high-profile story between the federal government and Texas cult leader David Koresh after starting as a freelance writer for NPR. the standoff in Waco.
According to Goo DeWine in The Morning Edition, “On February 28, as the chilly dawn settled over rural central Texas, BATFA agents scrambled to raid David Koresh and his adherents at the Branch Davidian compound.” Cult members were waiting for them a few hundred yards away and were highly armed.