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Photo: Chris Walker / Chicago Tribune / MCT / Landov

Paul Harvey (1918-2009)

Known as one of the most widely followed radio and television news commentators, Paul Harvey showed an interest in radio during childhood and in high school was a champion orator.

Harvey's English teacher insisted that he pursue a career in broadcasting. When he was 14 she took him to KVOO radio, where he was given the opportunity to fill in at the microphone, doing announcements and reading the newswire as a staff announcer. He continued to work in the broadcasting field as station manager of KFBI radio in Salina, Kansas, as a newscaster at KOMA radio in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and as the news and special events director at KXOX radio in St. Louis, Missouri.

From 1941 to 1943 Harvey worked as program director at WKZO radio in Kalamazoo, Michigan, while also serving as the Office of War Information's news director for Michigan and Indiana. In 1943 he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps, but he received a medical discharge in 1944. He moved to Chicago, Illinois, shortened his name to Paul Harvey, and began doing daily news commentaries on local station WENR radio. Soon, his broadcasts were topping the ratings in the greater Chicago area.

As a news analyst, author and columnist, Paul Harvey won recognition as "one of the best-known and most influential personalities in the history of American radio" and the last of the wartime generation of radio commentators. "Paul Harvey News & Comments" and "The Rest of the Story" aired daily on 1,600 radio stations worldwide and had more than 18 million listeners weekly.

Harvey has received awards from the Disabled American Veterans, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion and the Freedom Foundation. He has been inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame (1955), was named Commentator of the Year in 1962 by Radio/TV Daily and in 1979 was inducted to the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame. In 2005 President George W. Bush presented him the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Harvey's books include Autumn of Liberty, Remember These Things, You Said It, Paul Harvey, and Our Lives, Our Fortunes, Our Sacred Honor.

Harvey died in 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona. Harvey's full-length biography, Good Day! The Paul Harvey Story, was published in May 2009 by Regnery Publishing.


Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture