You may have heard that Paul Harvey passed away last weekend at the age of 90. To some, your first response might have been, “Paul who?”
But I was fortunate enough to catch the tail end of his career, his “prime” as it were, when his 15-minute “News & comment” broadcasts were king.
I had only vaguely heard of Paul when I started working for KOMO radio in Seattle in 1980. He was the anchor of their broadcast day, with a 5-minute news & comment in the morning and a 15-minute expanded edition at high noon. When you heard his voice around lunch time, you knew it was just past noon. He basically did a round-up of the day’s most important news, some fun stories, congratulating couples on their way to forever together and some thoughts on how he thought the world was doing. He was conservative, but not right wing. In fact, in later years, several times I heard him say things that were more Democrat views than Republican.
I remember when I first started at KOMO, we got his reports over a phone line. That’s just how it sounded. Then, one day, we started getting Paul Harvey via crystal-clear satellite. At first, I couldn’t believe it was the same guy. We were moving into a new age.
But more than anything else: he was one of the last broadcasters who got it right: you have to narrow-cast and make the person listening feel like you’re talking to them and them alone.
He’d pause for effect…..his voice would occasionally crack…but he was genuine, he was real.
In my archives (and I’ve got to find it now; when I do, I’ll post it on our 92-5 KLSY LIVES club page) we called him on one of his birthdays and interviewed him on KLSY. We took a chance, called his office and they actually put us through. I can still hear him ending our conversation with: “…and YOU, Murdock & Hunter. Good day!”
When you have time, go to PaulHarvey.com and listen to a couple of his “rest of the story” stories. They’re habit forming.
And that’s when you know someone is doing their radio job right.