A talk-radio legend has died. Paul Harvey, of ABC Radio Network fame, passed away with family at his side in a Phoenix, Ariz., hospital. He was 90 years old.
According to an Associated Press obituary, Harvey had been on the national broadcast scene since 1951.
In 2005 he was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame, along with his wife, Lynne, who was his longtime producer. She died in May of 2008 at age 92, according to reports.
In his obituary, it said he first met his wife, then Lynne Cooper, at KXOK radio in St. Louis while she was a graduate student at Washington University. He reportedly proposed to her on their first date. She didn’t say yes until 1940.
Paul Harvey Aurandt was born in Tulsa, Okla., on Sept. 4, 1918. After his police-officer father died when Harvey was a tot, a high school teacher noticed his distinct voice and put him down the broadcast career path by the age of 14, one obituary said.
It was that voice and Oklahoma roots that catapulted him to stardom because he easily appealed to the Midwest listener. He was even a radioman at KFBI in Abilene, Kan., for a while.
I grew up listening to him as I went to school in the Canton-Galva school district.
Every morning I rode the bus to school. Leroy Klatt was the driver, and I began to learn to gauge where we were on the bus route by when Paul Harvey came on the radio.
Harvey composed twice-daily reports from an office in downtown Chicago, and I heard the morning version almost every day for more than seven years.
Harvey blended his news reports with a few advertisements, which he has said he only crossed that line for products he truly believed in.
I remember him almost always discussing JB Weld. According to what Harvey said in his broadcasts, the stuff was so strong it could fix a cracked engine block.
At the time I didn’t know what that really meant, and to be quite honest I still don’t. It sounds like some good stuff, and I’m sure it is, otherwise Harvey wouldn’t have endorsed it, right?
To this day I found it amusing how he read the news. It seemed like he was taught to read everything that was on the paper, even the page numbers.
I did appreciate knowing where he was at within the report, but he didn’t need to tell me when he was flipping to “page two.”
I wonder if in the beginning he didn’t write his own scripts and some poor copy jockey wrote it and included page numbers without thinking.
The poor fellow was probably fired after the first time Harvey read the page numbers, but then producers probably realized that it helped with the charm of the show and urged Harvey to keep announcing what page he was on.
Now that I think about it, though, did he ever have more than two pages? I can’t remember ever hearing him say “page three.”
I suppose he did, but I guess it doesn’t matter.
What does matter is that a legend has left the media world.
No longer will radio listeners know when the news is about to come on by hearing Harvey say, “Hello, Americans. Stand by for news.”
No longer will people know “The Rest of the Story,” in which Harvey would give biographies of famous people in chronological order so the identity of the featured person wouldn’t be known until the end of the piece.
Just last Friday, though, I did hear “The Rest of the Story” about Walt Disney. It was a fascinating story, and it was read by Harvey’s only son, Paul Harvey Jr.
Paul Harvey Jr. expressed how proud he was of his parents.
“My father and mother created from thin air what one day became radio and television news,” he said in a statement Saturday. “So in the past year, an industry has lost its godparents, and today millions have lost a friend.”
A friend to the average American has been lost indeed.
Paul Harvey will be missed.
Good day, sir.