Sunday, March 01, 2009

Paul Harvey - 1918 - 2009

Paul Harvey - 1918 - 2009
Standby for news!

One of the pioneers of broadcasting, and a personal hero of mine has died.

Paul Harvey had been on the air nationally since 1951. He was 90.

I have fond memories of sitting at my grandparents' house in Iowa, enjoying a noon lunch at the kitchen table with Paul Harvey giving us his "news and comment."

Later, as a broadcaster myself, I'd listen to his reports to inform my own. Joe High, a photographer I worked with for several years and I would often plan our lunch breaks around Paul Harvey. And if the local station preempted him, we had a list of other stations we could catch him on.

He was known for his unique delivery, full of pauses, and the terrific story telling of his son, who wrote his popular "Rest of the Story" features. His wife, affectionately known as Angel produced his programs. She passed away last year.

He did his own ads, and how effective they were. It's been said he would only endorse products he himself used. And I'm sure his 25 million listeners were more than kind to his advertisers.

He spent time in Oklahoma and St. Louis before spending most of his life in Chicago, not New York or LA.

In many ways, he was the radio voice of middle America. He was a broadcaster not afraid to share his Christian faith, as he often did in this Lenten season, when he'd share the story of the man and the birds, a modern parable about Jesus.

It always struck me to hear how he wore not only a a shirt and tie, but a full suit on the radio, saying it made him stay on top of his game. I respect that.

It's been said he's the most listened to broadcaster in radio history.

He'd often close his program with a "kicker" -- a funny story that he himself would often chuckle at. Sometimes you'd hear the pregnant pauses as he either drew out the suspense, or held back his laughter. And always he ended with a hearty "Good Day!"

And now you know the rest of the story.

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