Legendary Radio Broadcaster Paul Harvey Passes Away at Age 90

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On Saturday, February 28, the mic went silent. Paul H. Aurandt, known to his estimated 22 million regular listeners as Paul Harvey, passed away this weekend at the age of 90. Seventy of those 90 years were spent on the air, years that indelibly imprinted his unique vocal style upon the consciousness of America. “Stand by for news!” said with that distinctive rise in pitch on the word “news” that almost every American  recognizes.

Coming roughly a year after losing his wife and long time producer Lynne,  Mr. Harvey has now joined her. He called her his “Angel” from the night they met.  They are survived by their son, Paul Harvey, Jr.  More from Seattle PI/TV Guide Matt Mitovich:

“My father and mother created from thin air what one day became radio and television news,” Paul Harvey Jr. said in a statement. “So in the past year, an industry has lost its godparents and … millions have lost a friend.”

Godparents, indeed. Mr. Harvey’s first radio work was in Tulsa, Oklahoma, during the year 1933 at KVOO-AM. Radio has been his home ever since. In 1951 his voice was brought to listeners across the country when his first national broadcasts began. Since then his offbeat delivery and Midwestern folksiness have been a constant. For more than twice my lifetime he has been a part of our nation’s audio tapestry.

One trademark of this legendary announcer is the conversational way in which he introduced advertising into his shows. Each pitch was woven seamlessly into the conversation on air. Famous for his stance of only endorsing products he himself used, Paul Harvey was setting the bar for the social media that come with the Internet age. Personal and warm, he would make each product placement as riveting and personal as the rest of this broadcast.

The Internet and the media are overflowing with the news, tributes and retrospectives, providing “The Rest of the Story” on this titan of the AM band.

  • NPR – Audio – Dumont, a friend of Mr. Harvey’s and the founder of the Museum of Broadcast Communications, talks to National Public Radio host Robert Smith.
  • ABC News – Linda Zecchino and Dean Schabner give us  fantastic four page look at Mr. Harvey’s amazing life and career. At the time of this writing there are hundreds of comments containing an outpouring of emotion from listeners around the world.
  • The Chicago Tribune- Dennis McLellan of the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune reporters Mary Owen, Rick Kogan and Trevor Jensen present a solid retrospective on Mr. Harvey’s life and career.

Condolences may be left for the family through the Paul Harvey Website

In Mr. Harvey’s own famous words, “good day!”

Photo courtesy of RoadsidePictures, used under its Creative Commons license

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