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WBEZ’s Steve Edwards heading to University of Chicago

WBEZ - Chicago Public Media: Steve Edwards. Programming department. Phoby Andrew Collings.

WBEZ - Chicago Public Media: Steve Edwards. Programming department. Photo by Andrew Collings.

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Updated: October 6, 2012 1:50PM

In a big blow to local public radio, WBEZ afternoon talk show host Steve Edwards is leaving the station to head to the University of Chicago.

Edwards — a familiar voice to listeners of the station at 91.5 FM for more than a dozen years — will take up a position at the university’s new Institute of Politics, according to his executive producer, Justin Kaufmann.

Edwards has hosted “The Afternoon Shift with Steve Edwards” since the beginning of the year.

He previously served as WBEZ’s director of content development and program director, and from 1999 to 2008, hosted “Eight Forty-Eight,” WBEZ’s morning news program.

He told colleagues about his move to become the Institute of Politics deputy programming director earlier Tuesday, Kaufmann said.

Edwards will be working at the Institute alongside David Axelrod, a chief adviser to President Barack Obama. Axelrod is due to become the institute’s inaugural director after the November election.

The non-partisan institute has a “mission of enriching civic and political life through public programming, student internships, and visiting fellowships for professionals in the world of politics and policy, Chicago Public Media president and chief executive Torey Malatia wrote in an email to staff.

“Steve is one of our very best media professionals and we will miss him very much, as will his devoted listeners,” Malatia wrote.

Malatia added that WBEZ has launched a national search for a new host for “The Afternoon Shift” to fill Edwards’ “enormous pair of shoes.”

Edwards’ last day at WBEZ is Sept. 21. He’s due to start his new position in October.

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