As I look back over the many stages of my life, I find few constants compared to the many never-ending changes which have influenced me. One unusual, but very positive, constant has been a voice … a voice which influenced me to pursue a career in radio in my early years. A voice with idiosyncratic delivery, dramatic pauses, quirky intonations and a folksiness which offered a comfort zone to anyone who heard it. This voice was on the radio and belonged to a man by the name of Paul Harvey Aurandt, better known simply as Paul Harvey.
He’s an American radio commentator with an estimated audience of 22 million people a week—and yet when you hear his broadcast, you feel certain that he’s talking directly to you and you alone. That’s a rare talent indeed. However, Paul’s had lot of practice. He’s 90 years old, one of the oldest syndicated radio personalities in the U.S., and is among the very few remaining radio talents who are older than the medium itself.
Radio has always been part of Paul’s life. Born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma, he built radio receivers as a young boy. Noting this interest, a high school teacher suggested that he get a job at the local radio station, which he did. Although he started by just cleaning up around the KVOO studio, he later moved on to fill in on the air, reading commercials and news.
He continued his work at KVOO as he attended the University of Tulsa, first as a radio announcer and later as a program director. Radio was in his blood. His career took him to many radio stations in many cities, which is a requirement for success in this industry. He moved on to be a station manager, a newscaster, a director of special events at many stations and also worked as a roving reporter.
After serving in the military, Paul moved to Chicago in 1945 and returned to broadcasting for the local ABC affiliate. He soon became the most popular newscaster in the Windy City. His popular shows included “Jobs for G.I. Joe” and “The Rest of the Story Paul Harvey News and Comment.” He could be heard weekdays in the morning and noon and again on Saturdays. He shared news in such a way as everyone could understand it … and has been doing it ever since. For 20 years starting in the late 1960s, Paul’s televised, five-minute editorial was offered to local stations to follow their news or be shown separately.
In 1976, ABC Radio Networks premiered “The Rest of the Story” as a separate series which captured the imagination and curiosity of listeners as Paul dug into stories behind the world’s stories of famous events and people. This show was so well-received that it lead to a series of best-selling books. Harvey’s son, a concert pianist, created and produced the series. He remains the show’s only writer.
“Harvey’s News and Comment” is streamed on the World Wide Web twice a day. Paul Harvey News has been called the “largest one-man network in the world,” as it is carried on 1,200 radio stations, 400 Armed Forces Network stations around the world and 300 newspapers. His broadcasts and newspaper columns have been reprinted in the Congressional Record more than those of any other commentator. In late 2000, Harvey signed a 10-year, $100 million contract with ABC Radio Networks.
To give you an idea of how well he connected to his audience, consider the fact that loyal listeners have had an on-going relationship with Paul’s wife, lovingly referred to as “Angel.” She was recognized throughout the industry as “The First Lady of Radio,” as one of the great broadcasting figures of the past century, and the first producer ever inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame. Radio obviously runs in this family. Paul lost his beloved “Angel” earlier this year after a year-long battle with leukemia.
Paul is back on the air part time after taking some time off earlier this year to deal with pneumonia, bronchitis, cataract surgery and, of course, the death of his “Angel.” Harvey has returned to telling us “The Rest of the Story” on a full-time basis, but has cut back on his daily news duties. If you’d like more info as to his current schedule, go to paulharvey.com.
Paul is well-known for his simple, but memorable, catch phrases—often imitated but never duplicated. He begins one of his stories with: “Hello Americans, this is Paul Harvey. You know what the news is, in a minute, you’ll hear the rest of the story.” His sign-off is also short, simple, but one that sticks in your mind until you hear him again: “Paul Harvey … Good day.”
It would be interesting to peek into Paul’s home office to get a glance of the many honors he’s achieved in his illustrious career. He’s received 11 Freedom Foundation Awards, the Horatio Alger Award, and appeared on the Gallop Poll list of America’s most admired men. He’s been elected to the National Association of Broadcasters Radio Hall of Fame, and the DeMolay Hall of Fame (a Masonic institution). He’s also been named the Commentator of the Year, American of the Year, Father of the Year, Person of the Year and Salesman of the Year. He’s also the proud recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States’ most prestigious civilian award.
Paul’s best-selling books include:
- Autumn of Liberty
- The Rest of the Story
- Our Lives, Our Fortunes, Our Sacred Honor
- Paul Harvey’s the Rest of the Story
- More of Paul Harvey’s the Rest of the Story
- Destiny: From Paul Harvey’s the Rest of the Story
- Paul Harvey’s for What It’s Worth
Let’s hope we have access to this unique commentary for years to come. At 90, Paul is obviously in the prime of his life. Good day!