Paul Harvey Dead at 90

Paul Harvey, one of the pioneers of broadcast journalism, has died, aged 90.

Known for his deliberate delivery and pregnant pauses, Harvey’s broadcasts were heard on more than 1,200 radio stations and 400 Armed Forces networks and his commentaries appeared in 300 newspapers, according to his Web site.

He had been hosting his radio shows part-time for much of the past year, after recovering from physical ailments including pneumonia and the death of his wife, Lynne “Angel” Harvey in May 2008.

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

Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Harvey began his radio career in 1933 at KVOO-AM there while he was still in high school, his Web site says. He helped clean the station and was eventually was allowed to fill in on air, reading news and commercials.

“Paul Harvey was one of the most gifted and beloved broadcasters in our nation’s history,” ABC Radio Networks President Jim Robinson said in a written statement. “As he delivered the news each day with his own unique style and commentary, his voice became a trusted friend in American households.”

Some critics faulted Harvey for the way he seamlessly intertwined news stories with advertisements, which he often read in his own voice in the middle of a story. But his accolades were plentiful — from his 1990 induction into the National Radio Hall of Fame to receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from then-President George W. Bush in 2005.

The AP obit adds,

In this Nov. 16, 1988 file photo, radio commentator Paul Harvey and his wife, Lynne, hold a street sign bearing his name in Chicago. A one-block stretch of East Wacker Dr. is changed to Paul Harvey Dr. in honor of the well-known broadcaster. ABC Radio Network says broadcasting pioneer Paul Harvey has died at the age of 90. Network spokesman Louis Adams says Harvey died Saturday Feb. 28, 2009 at his winter home in Phoenix, surrounded by family.  (AP Photo/Charles Bennett, File)

In this Nov. 16, 1988 file photo, radio commentator Paul Harvey and his wife, Lynne, hold a street sign bearing his name in Chicago. A one-block stretch of East Wacker Dr. is changed to Paul Harvey Dr. in honor of the well-known broadcaster. ABC Radio Network says broadcasting pioneer Paul Harvey has died at the age of 90. Network spokesman Louis Adams says Harvey died Saturday Feb. 28, 2009 at his winter home in Phoenix, surrounded by family. (AP Photo/Charles Bennett, File)

He became a heartland icon, delivering news and commentary with a distinctive Midwestern flavor. “Stand by for news!” he told his listeners. He was credited with inventing or popularizing terms such as “skyjacker,” “Reaganomics” and “guesstimate.”

His routine will be familiar to many bloggers:

Rising at 3:30 each morning, he ate a bowl of oatmeal, then combed the news wires and spoke with editors across the country in search of succinct tales of American life for his program.

Truly an amazing span. He’s been a fixture in American life since well before my parents were born. While trite, it’s nonetheless true that we’ll never see his like again.

Jazz Shaw rightly dubs him “One of the great voices of an age almost forgotten.” Warner Todd Huston expands on that theme:

In a day when the goal of every other broadcaster seems to be to dive straight to the lowest common denominator, to celebrate to low born and venal, Harvey’s was always to uplift the listener and to celebrate the greatness of America. […] Harvey’s “The Rest of the Story” segments always, always told the story of some man or woman that struggled hard through life until they found that one thing that brought them fame, fortune or adulation. Harvey meant these stories to give us all hope. His guiding principle was that “tomorrow is always better than today.”

More remembrances will be aggregated at Memeorandum as people wake up to the news.

FILED UNDER: Media, Obituaries, , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. […] via CNN. Appreciations from Malkin, Outside The Beltway, Redstate. MacsMind: Before there was Rush Limbaugh, there was Paul Harvey. You might not have […]

  2. The work ethic of Paul Harvey and his integrity as a person was way above the norm. Paul Harvey was one of my favorites when I was growing up. Paul Harvey was a one of a kind and he will be missed.

  3. Anderson says:

    Sad news, which makes it all the more disrespectful that you’ve illustrated the post with that Madame Tussaud’s figure of the man.

  4. James Joyner says:

    Sad news, which makes it all the more disrespectful that you’ve illustrated the post with that Madame Tussaud’s figure of the man.

    Eeks! I was just searching for something a bit different in Google Images and liked the sign being over him. Most of the photos, including the one I’ve substituted, are either very old or very low quality.

  5. Anderson says:

    Goodness, JJ, don’t ever take me seriously.

    Harvey always looked like that, from what I can tell. His paperback covers even suggest he suffered from some (hopefully not painful) skin condition.

  6. James Joyner says:

    Heh. It could well have been a wax statue for all I know. Those things are lifelike!