Wade Goodwyn, NPR’s Longtime National Correspondent, Dies at 63

The radio reporter leaves behind over 25 years of signature journalism

Allison Shelley/NPR

Longtime NPR National Desk Correspondent Wade Goodwyn has died. He was 63.

The well-known radio host died from cancer, according to NPR

He reported on his native state of Texas, the southwest United States and stories like school shootings, the American Sniper murder trial, the Oklahoma City bombing, hurricanes and the Boy Scouts sexual abuse scandal.

“Wade Goodwyn worked for NPR for over 30 years, mostly from his base in Dallas,” NPR CEO John Lansing said in a statement. “For generations of public radio listeners, including me, he was one of NPR’s iconic voices. Aside from that instantly recognizable voice, Wade was a uniquely gifted storyteller and a brilliant reporter. From the first words of one of his stories, you always knew you were being taken on a journey by a master of our craft. You were in for a true treat, whatever the subject matter. Find a moment to listen to one of Wade’s extraordinary stories for NPR that are his lasting gift to all of us. We are keeping his family in our thoughts.”

Goodwyn was known for his soothing bass voice as well as his detailed writing that helped listeners picture and feel the scenes he described.

“You know Wade was a poet,” says NPR senior editor Steve Drummond. “The little detail, the little color or sound that he’d seen out in the field, and it just made what he said sparkle. He was just an amazing storyteller.”

After graduating from the University of Texas with a history major, Goodwyn, son of historian Lawrence Goodwyn, pursued freelance public radio in Texas after working as a political organizer in New York City. 

In 1993, Goodwyn received the assignment to cover the standoff between cult leader David Koresh and the federal government in Waco, Texas.

“He was really good at infusing humanity into those situations that sometimes people just want to turn away from,” NPR managing editor Vickie Walton-James said. 

One of his reported stories about Regina Kelly, who sued a corrupt drug task force in 2002, inspired the film “American Violet.”

Wade Goodwyn is survived by his wife, Sharon, and two daughters, Hannah and Sam.