Sunday, March 1

That Was Paul Harvey

It may puzzle some progressives that I have genuine sweet spot for Paul Harvey who passed away today at the age of 90. But I have good reason--he was a populist embodied in a newscaster. Born an Okie in Tulsa, he literally grew up in radio landing his first job while still in high school. From 1951 until today, he was news radio.

As a kid growing up in Dayton, Ohio and listening to the static of AM radio, there was was something special about the halting, upbeat patter that was "the voice" of Paul Harvey. Sure he could be schmaltzy and quaint, but he was never less than reassuring--professorial even. Everybody listened to PH. He had more awards and acclaim than most people will ever see. In 2005 he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Honor by George W. Bush for lifetime achievement. For my money much more appropriate than George Tenant's.

Sure he was probably more politically aligned to Mike Huckabee than Barack Obama, but he was accessible. He was more someone's slightly cranky grandfather than Rush Limbaugh's's crazy uncle. You could learn from Paul Harvey. You could learn how to be decent, caring, and present.

Even at the very end, Paul Harvey was the most listened to news personality on radio with 25 million people tuning in to hear his corn fed "News and Commentary" reports, personal anecdotes, and shameless shilling. Farmers, pimply teenagers, soccer moms waiting for the time when he'd say "Hello Americans, I'm Paul Harvey. You know what the news is, in a minute, you're going to hear ... the rest of the story." To this day, I enjoy imitating him when he would say "page two" and the most memorable tagline in the history of radio, "This is Paul Harvey. Good day."

I know we will have plenty of good days to come and yet there was something comforting in that warm cackle of a voice that so clearly enjoyed being with us as much as we looked forward to hearing it pour over us. That was Paul Harvey. Good night.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

No comments: