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'Morning Edition' host Noel King is leaving NPR

NOEL KING, HOST:

All right, A, before we close out the hour, I have some news that I want to share with our listeners.

A MARTINEZ, HOST:

Oh, oh, what is it? What is it?

KING: Well, it's mixed news. The first part is that after almost four years at MORNING EDITION, I am moving on from the host chair.

MARTINEZ: So only a few months of working with me, and you just had enough, right?

KING: That was exactly what happened.

MARTINEZ: Yeah.

KING: I said, this A Martinez fellow - I don't understand what's going on.

I am, of course, just kidding. It has been such a pleasure to work with you for the past couple of months. You've brought something new and different to the show. You've brought singing to the show. I can't say I'd ever do it, but I like it (laughter).

MARTINEZ: As much as I think all of us here at NPR are sad to see you leave, you're going to be doing something that you really want to do.

KING: So this is the really exciting part. I am leaving behind the stress and anxiety and sleepless nights that are associated with daily news to go and host a daily news podcast. I keep trying to get out, A, and they keep dragging me back in.

MARTINEZ: Like Al Pacino in "Godfather III," yeah.

KING: Exactly, exactly. I'm moving on to a show called "Today, Explained." It's an explainer of the day's news. You and I and Rachel and Steve always talk about how we wish we just had a little bit more time for context. And so this show is an opportunity to do that. And I've always loved telling people why things are going on in addition to what's going on, so I'm really excited about that.

And can I tell you what I think?

MARTINEZ: Yeah.

KING: I think there's going to be opportunities for us to collaborate.

MARTINEZ: Oh.

KING: Yeah.

MARTINEZ: Singing?

KING: Singing for sure (laughter). As long as it's just you.

MARTINEZ: What would you say, Noel, is the thing that sticks out the most in your time at NPR?

KING: Oh, my goodness. That is a really tough one. Working at NPR, I have met some of the smartest people in my life. Everyone at this organization is so committed to knowing what's going on and to being truthful about it. And it can come to sound like a little bit of a cliche when you've been doing it for long enough, but it is true that we get up every morning and we do this for our listeners because we want them to stay informed and engaged. Because most of us believe that is the most important thing in the world and that the stakes are pretty high right now.

MARTINEZ: Well, let me speak on behalf of National Public Radio and say, you will be missed, Noel, and thanks for everything you've done for this organization.

KING: I will miss you too. And I'll keep texting you at 2 in the morning. How about that (laughter)?

MARTINEZ: Absolutely. I'll take it. I might not answer back.

KING: Thank God, I never have to wake up at 2:30 in the morning again, ever.

(SOUNDBITE OF MIDDLE SCHOOL AND ASO'S "CYPRESS") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.