Saturday, February 28, 2009

Radio Legend Paul Harvey - Dead At Age 90

Radio pioneer Paul Harvey passed away today at the age of 90, surrounded by family members in a Phoenix hospital. The cause of death has not been announced. Harvey's was one of the most beloved voices heard across the nation's radio stations who would begin his weekday broadcast with his signature, Hello Americans, This Is Paul Harvey. Long before Rush Limbaugh took to the airwaves, Paul Harvey graced listeners with his own style of home-spun, down-to-earth commentary on the news of the day. The broadcaster's listeners spanned the range of those going about their day in the heartland, to those navigating through cross-town traffic in the steel and concrete canyons of the nation's cities. Paul Harvey's bylines took on a folksy tone with listeners, as though he were sharing stories over a backyard fence with a long-time friend and neighbor about events far and near.
Whether reporting on big stories and those little stories not often carried by the big three networks, Mr. Harvey would explain the news with an easy, relaxed manner, that gave you the assurance that things were still alright in America, and that we would awake the next morning to promise of a brighter day.

While still a student at Central High School, Paul Harvey began his broadcast career in 1933 with radio station KVOO in his hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Mr. Harvey was born Paul Harvey Aurandt, the son of a Tulsa Police Officer killed in the line of duty while Paul was a toddler. A speech teacher at Harvey's High School took note of his distinctive voice inflection and stacatto-like delivery and pointed him toward a career in radio. TulsaTV Memories has a tribute to distinguished alumni of Central High School and Miss Isabelle Ronan, who launched the career of an American radio icon.

Mr. Harvey's death comes less than one year after the death of his beloved wife and producer Lynn in May of 2008. Paul Harvey credited the success of his career to his wife whom he always addressed as Angel. The couple met while working at St. Louis radio station KXOK where Harvey proposed to his future wife of sixty-eight years on their first date. The couple married in 1940 and have a son, Paul Junior. The couple later moved to Chicago, Illinois and the ABC News network where Paul Senior began broadcast of Paul Harvey's, The Rest of the Story in 1951.

Mr. Harvey is depicted above as he was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom award from President George W. Bush in 2005. Only fourteen other celebrated individuals have been given this award. Paul Harvey was also inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame and received the Paul White award, the most coveted honor bestowed by the Radio-Television News Directors Association.

Paul Harvey, rest in peace, you will be missed.

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