Paul Harvey

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Paul Harvey
Harvey receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005
Birth name Paul Harvey Aurandt
Born (1918-09-04)September 4, 1918
Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.
Died Script error: The function "death_date_and_age" does not exist.
Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.
Resting place Forest Home Cemetery, Chicago, Illinois
Alma mater University of Tulsa
Show The Rest of the Story
Paul Harvey News and Comment
Network ABC Radio Networks
Country United States
Spouse(s) Lynne "Angel" Cooper Harvey
(1940–2008; her death)
Children Paul Harvey, Jr.

Paul Harvey Aurandt (September 4, 1918 – February 28, 2009), better known as Paul Harvey, was a conservative American radio broadcaster for the ABC Radio Networks.[1] He broadcast News and Comment on weekday mornings and mid-days, and at noon on Saturdays, as well as his famous The Rest of the Story segments. From the 1950s through the 1990s, Harvey's programs reached as many as 24 million people a week. Paul Harvey News was carried on 1,200 radio stations, 400 Armed Forces Network stations and 300 newspapers.


Early years

Harvey was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma.[2] The son of a policeman killed in 1921,[3] Harvey made radio receivers as a young boy. He attended Tulsa Central High School where a teacher, Isabelle Ronan, was "impressed by his voice." On her recommendation, he started working at KVOO in Tulsa in 1933, when he was 14. His first job was helping clean up. Eventually he was allowed to fill in on the air, reading commercials and the news.[4][5][6]

While attending the University of Tulsa, he continued working at KVOO, first as an announcer, and later as a program director. Harvey, at age nineteen spent three years as[7] a station manager for KFBI AM, now known as KFDI, a radio station that once had studios in Salina, Kansas. From there, he moved to a newscasting job at KOMA in Oklahoma City, and then to KXOK, in St. Louis in 1938,[8] where he was Director of Special Events and a roving reporter.

Harvey then moved to Hawaii to cover the United States Navy as it concentrated its fleet in the Pacific. He was returning to the mainland from assignment when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. He eventually enlisted in the United States Army Air Forces but served only from December 1943 to March 1944. His critics[specify] claimed he was given a psychiatric discharge for deliberately injuring himself in the heel. Harvey angrily denied the accusation, but was vague about details: "There was a little training accident...a minor cut on the obstacle course...I don't recall seeing anyone I knew who was a psychiatrist...I cannot tell you the exact wording on my discharge."[9]

Move to Chicago

Harvey then moved to Chicago, where in June 1944, he began broadcasting from the ABC affiliate WENR. In 1945, he began hosting the postwar employment program Jobs for G.I. Joe on WENR. Harvey added The Rest of the Story as a tagline to in-depth feature stories in 1946.

One of Harvey's regular topics was lax security, in particular at Argonne National Laboratory, a nuclear research facility located 20 miles (32 km) west of Chicago.[2] To demonstrate his concern, just after midnight on February 6, 1951, Harvey engaged in an "act of participatory journalism"; as The Washington Post described it in 2010, after obtaining 1400 pages of the FBI file on Harvey:[2][10]

Harvey guided his black Cadillac Fleetwood toward Argonne, arriving sometime past midnight. He parked in a secluded spot, tossed his overcoat onto the barbed wire topping a fence, then scampered over.... Harvey['s plan was] to scratch his signature on 'objects that could not possibly have been brought to the site by someone else,' according to a statement later given by an off-duty guard who accompanied him.... But seconds after Harvey hit the ground, security officers spotted him.... Harvey ran until, caught in a Jeep's headlights, he tripped and fell. As guards approached, Harvey sprang to his feet and waved. Guards asked whether Harvey realized he was in a restricted area. Harvey replied no, that he thought he might be at the airport because of the red lights.... Harvey told the authorities he had been headed to a neighboring town to give a speech when his car died.... Under questioning, Harvey eventually dropped his cover story but refused to elaborate, saying he wanted to tell his tale before a congressional committee. Guards searched his Cadillac and found ... a four-page, typewritten script for an upcoming broadcast. Harvey, it turned out, had planned from the outset to feed the nation a bogus account of his escapade: "I hereby affirm the following is a true and accurate account," the script began. "My friend and I were driving a once-familiar road, when the car stalled.... We started to walk.... We made no effort to conceal our presence.... Suddenly I realized where I was. That I had entered, unchallenged, one of the United States' vital atomic research installations.... Quite by accident, understand, I had found myself inside the 'hot' area.... We could have carried a bomb in, or classified documents out.

Harvey's "escapade" prompted the U.S. attorney for Illinois to empanel a grand jury to consider an espionage indictment; Harvey "went on the air to suggest he was being set up"; the grand jury subsequently declined to indict Harvey.[2]

On April 1, 1951, before the grand jury's decision,[2] the ABC Radio Network debuted Paul Harvey News and Comment "Commentary and analysis of Paul Harvey each weekday at 12 Noon". Harvey was also heard originally on Sundays; the first Sunday program was Harvey's introduction. Later, the Sunday program would move to Saturdays. The program continued until his death.

From the late 1960s through the early 1980s, Harvey recorded five-minute video editorials that local television stations could insert into their local news programs or show separately.

In the latter half of his career, Harvey was also known for the radio series The Rest of the Story, described as a blend of mystery and history, which premiered on May 10, 1976. The series quickly grew to six broadcasts a week, and continued until Harvey's death in 2009. The Rest of the Story series was written and produced by the broadcaster's son, Paul Harvey, Jr., from its outset and for its thirty-three year duration. Harvey and his radio network stated that the stories in that series, although entertaining, were completely true.[11] This was contested by some critics, including urban legend expert Jan Harold Brunvand.[12]

In November 2000, Harvey signed a 10-year, $100M contract with ABC Radio Networks. A few months later, after damaging his vocal cords, he went off the air, but returned in August 2001.

His success with sponsors stemmed from the seamlessness with which he segued from his monologue into reading commercial messages. He explained his relationship with them, saying "I am fiercely loyal to those willing to put their money where my mouth is."[13]

Fill-in hosts

Former Senator Fred Thompson substituted for Harvey regularly from 2006 to 2007. Other substitutes for Harvey included his son, Paul Harvey, Jr.,[14] Doug Limerick,[15] Paul W. Smith,[16] Gil Gross,[17] Ron Chapman,[18] Mitt Romney,[19] Mike Huckabee,[20] Mort Crim, Art Van Horn, Scott Shannon, and Tony Snow. Three weeks after Harvey's death, the entire News and Comment franchise was canceled.

Harvey did not host the show full-time after April 2008, when he came down with pneumonia. Shortly after his recovery, his wife died on May 3, causing him to prolong his time away from broadcasting. He voiced commercials, new episodes of The Rest of the Story and News & Comment during middays a few times a week, with his son handling mornings.

On-air persona, catch phrases, trademarks, and off-air interest

Harvey's on-air persona was influenced by that of sportscaster Bill Stern. During the 1940s, Stern's The Colgate Sports Reel and newsreel programs used many of the techniques later used by Harvey, including his emphatic style of delivery, and the use of phrases such as Reel Two and Reel Three to denote segments of the broadcast—much like Harvey's Page Two and Page Three.[1][21]

Harvey was also known for catch phrases he used at the beginning of his programs, such as "Hello Americans, this is Paul Harvey. Stand by for NEWS!" He always ended, "Paul Harvey ... Good day." A story might be "This day's news of most lasting significance." At the end of a report about someone who had done something ridiculous or offensive, Harvey would say, "He would want us to mention his name," followed by silence, then would start the next item. The last item of a broadcast, which was often a funny story, would usually be preceded by "For what it's worth."

Other phrases made famous by Harvey included "Here's a strange..." (a story with an unusual twist) and "Self-government won't work without self-discipline."[22]

In addition to the inquiry into whether Harvey's Rest of the Story tales are true, Harvey's trademark ability to seamlessly migrate from content to commercial brought scrutiny. In that context, Salon magazine called him the "finest huckster ever to roam the airwaves."[23] Some have argued that Harvey's fawning and lavish product endorsements may be misleading or confusing to his audience. Harvey's endorsed products included EdenPure heaters, Bose radios, Select Comfort mattresses, and Hi-Health dietary supplements, including a supplement that was claimed to improve vision but was later the subject of a Federal Trade Commission enforcement action against the manufacturer (but not Harvey himself) for misleading claims made on Harvey's show.[24] In one of the tribute broadcasts, Gil Gross said Harvey considered advertising just another type of news, and he only endorsed products he believed in, often interviewing someone from the company.


Harvey was an avid pilot throughout his life. He served in the US Army Air Corps from 1943-1944.[25] Harvey had been an Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) member for more than 50 years, and would occasionally talk about flying to his radio audience. He was a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), and was frequently seen at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. He was responsible for funding the Paul Harvey Audio-Video Center at EAA headquarters in Oshkosh. Harvey was also an early investor in the Duluth, Minnesota-based aircraft manufacturing company, Cirrus Aircraft. According to AOPA Pilot contributing editor Barry Schiff, Harvey coined the term “skyjack”, and is credited with popularizing the terms "Reaganomics" and "guesstimate."[26][27]

Personal tastes

Beginning in 1952, Harvey was a friend of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. Harvey would often submit "advance copies of his radio script for comment and approval."[2] It is believed that Harvey's friendship with Hoover helped Harvey escape criminal charges relating to his trespassing at Argonne National Laboratory. Harvey was also a close friend of Senator Joseph McCarthy and supporter of his search for Communists.[28]

Harvey was also a close friend of George Vandeman and the Reverend Billy Graham.[9] From the mid-1970s until the mid-1980s, Harvey attended Calvary Memorial Church in Oak Park.[citation needed] When the church moved from its original location on Madison Street to the former Presbyterian Church on Lake Street, Harvey asked his friend Graham to preach at the dedication service.[citation needed] Harvey associated with various congregations of different denominations.[29] He and his wife regularly attended the Camelback Adventist Church in Scottsdale, Arizona during his winters there.[30] He often quoted Adventist pioneer Ellen G. White in his broadcasts and received the "Golden Microphone" Award for his professionalism and graciousness in dealing with the church.[31][32] He was also active with a small Plymouth Brethren meeting in Maywood, Illinois called Woodside Bible Chapel.

Rhetorical style

Robert D. McFadden, writing Harvey's obituary for the New York Times, examined his unique radio style and how it interacted with his political views:

[He] "personalized the radio news with his right-wing opinions, but laced them with his own trademarks: a hypnotic timbre, extended pauses for effect, heart-warming tales of average Americans and folksy observations that evoked the heartland, family values and the old-fashioned plain talk one heard around the dinner table on Sunday."
"'Hello, Americans,' he barked. 'This is Paul Harvey! Stand byyy for Newwws!'"
"He railed against welfare cheats and defended the death penalty. He worried about the national debt, big government, bureaucrats who lacked common sense, permissive parents, leftist radicals and America succumbing to moral decay. He championed rugged individualism, love of God and country, and the fundamental decency of ordinary people."[33][34]


Harvey was elected to the National Association of Broadcasters National Radio Hall of Fame and Oklahoma Hall of Fame, and appeared on the Gallup poll list of America's most admired men.[citation needed] In addition he received 11 Freedom Foundation Awards as well as the Horatio Alger Award.[citation needed] Harvey was named to the DeMolay Hall of Fame, a Masonic youth organization, on June 25, 1993.[citation needed]

In 2005, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States' most prestigious civilian award, by President George W. Bush.[35]

On May 18, 2007, he received an honorary degree from Washington University in St. Louis.[citation needed]

In 1992 he received the Paul White Award of the Radio Television Digital News Association[36]

Paul Harvey was inducted as a Laureate of The Lincoln Academy of Illinois and awarded the Order of Lincoln (the State’s highest honor) by the Governor of Illinois in 1987 in the area of Communication.[37]


Harvey was born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the son of Harry Harrison Aurandt (1873–1921) and Anna Dagmar (née Christensen) Aurandt (1883–1960). His father was born in Martinsburg, Pennsylvania; his mother was a native of Denmark. He had one sibling, an older sister Frances Harrietta (née Aurandt) Price (1908–1988).

In 1921, when Harvey was three years old, his father was murdered. His father and a friend (a Tulsa police detective) were rabbit hunting while off-duty around 9pm when approached by four armed men who attempted to rob them. Mr. Aurandt was shot and died two days later of his wounds. The four robbers were identified by the surviving detective, and arrested the day after Aurandt died. A lynch mob of 1,500 people formed at the jail, but all four were smuggled out, tried, convicted, and received life terms.[38]

In 1940, Harvey married Lynne Cooper of St. Louis. She was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa at Washington University in St. Louis[39] and a former schoolteacher.[40] They met when Harvey was working at KXOK and Cooper came to the station for a school news program. Harvey invited her to dinner, proposed to her after a few minutes of conversation and from then on called her "Angel," even on his radio show. A year later she said yes. The couple moved to Chicago in 1944.[39]

On May 17, 2007, Harvey told his radio audience that Angel had developed leukemia. Her death, at the age of 92, was announced by ABC radio on May 3, 2008.[41] When she died at their River Forest home, the Chicago Sun-Times described her as, "More than his astute business partner and producer, she also was a pioneer for women in radio and an influential figure in her own right for decades." According to the founder of the Museum of Broadcast Communications, Bruce DuMont, "She was to Paul Harvey what Colonel Parker was to Elvis Presley. She really put him on track to have the phenomenal career that his career has been."[42]

Lynne Harvey was the first producer ever inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame, and had developed some of her husband's best-known features, such as "The Rest of the Story."[39] While working on her husband's radio show, she established 10 p.m. as the hour in which news is broadcast. She was the first woman to receive a lifetime achievement award from the Chicago chapter of American Women in Radio and Television.[41] She worked in television also, and created a television show called Dilemma which is acknowledged as the prototype of the modern talk show genre. While working at CBS, she was among the first women to produce an entire newscast. In later years, she was best known as a philanthropist.[43]

They had one son, Paul Aurandt, Jr., who goes by the name Paul Harvey, Jr. He assisted his father at News and Comment and The Rest of the Story. Paul, Jr., whose voice announced the bumpers into and out of each News and Comment episode, filled in for his father during broadcasts and broadcast the morning editions after the passing of his mother.

Death and tributes

Harvey died on February 28, 2009, at the age of 90 at a hospital in Phoenix, Arizona, surrounded by family and friends.[44] No cause of death was announced. In response to his father's death, his son, Paul Harvey Jr., said, "millions have lost a friend".[45] At the time of his death, he had less than two years left on his ten-year contract. Former President George W. Bush issued a statement on Harvey's death, calling Harvey: "a friendly and familiar voice in the lives of millions of Americans."[46]

On March 4, Gil Gross was chosen to become the next host of News & Comment.[47] New owners Citadel Broadcasting, which had bought ABC Radio from Disney in 2008, chose Mike Huckabee, instead, but the show lasted only one week before being taken off the air.[48] Gross was actually happy not to have to do the show as that would have had him going into KGO San Francisco at around 1:00 a.m. to prep for the show that morning for the East Coast broadcasts (and his talk show was not until the late afternoon).

Harvey's full-length biography, Good Day! The Paul Harvey Story, was published in May 2009 by Regnery Publishing.[29]

On February 3, 2013, a recording of Harvey's "So God Made a Farmer" commentary was used by Ram Trucks in a commercial titled "Farmer," which aired during Super Bowl XLVII.



  1. 1.0 1.1 Michael Carlson, "Paul Harvey: Influential conservative American radio host", The Guardian, March 3, 2009.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Joe Stephens (January 23, 2010). "New documents show longtime friendship between J. Edgar Hoover and Paul Harvey". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 23, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. ODMP memorial for Harry Aurandt
  4. Rick Kogan (August 4, 2002). "Good days for Paul Harvey". Chicago Tribune.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Joe Howard (November 2, 2006). "Paul Harvey: A Legend Looks Back". Radio Ink.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Marc Fisher (October 1998). "A Lifetime on the Radio". American Journalism Review.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Pittenger, Todd. "Paul Harvey's employment at 19/KFBI". Metro Source News. Retrieved 14 February 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "KXOK in St. Louis to Debut September 19," Broadcasting, September 15, 1938, p. 26.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Linda Witt (January 22, 1979). "Forget Cronkite: Paul Harvey Is the Biggest Newscaster in America, and Getting Bigger". Vol. 11 No. 3. People.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Argonne passes a reporter's security test Harvey's 1951 attempt to test security at Argonne National Laboratory
  11. Interview with Paul Harvey, CNN Larry King Live, January 30, 2003 (accessed May 6, 2010_.
  12. Dan Wilson (September–October 1997). "The Right of the Story". Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Michael Carlson, "Obituary: Paul Harvey", The Guardian, March 3, 2009.
  14. Paul Harvey Jr. Fills In For Harvey In Mornings, April 30, 2008, at Radio Ink. Accessed May 4, 2008
  15., Retrieved on 2008/04/09.
  16., Retrieved on 2008/04/09.
  17., Retrieved on 2008/04/09.
  18., Retrieved on 2008/04/02.
  19. Romney To Fill In For Paul Harvey. Radio Ink. April 9, 2008.
  20. Vogel, Kenneth. Huckabee in talks for own Fox show. The Politico. July 14, 2008.
  21. John Dunning, The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio (Oxford University Press US, 1998), ISBN 978-0-19-507678-3, p. 163. Excerpt available at Google Books.
  22. Kansas State University Landon Lecture, 2003
  24. Craig Harris, "FTC fines Hi-Health $450,000 over Paul Harvey ads", Arizona Republic, August 24, 2005.
  25. "NNDB Paul Harvey". Retrieved 26 September 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  26. Rupert Cornwell (March 5, 2009). "Paul Harvey: Radio Broadcaster Who Became the Voice of America (obituary)". London: The Independent.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  27. The Editors of AVweb (August 2, 1999). "Oshkosh 1999 Newswire: Day Six - Cirrus Gets Stockholders To Show Them The Money". Oshkosh, Wisconsin: AVweb. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  28. Corliss, Richard (March 5, 2009). "Paul Harvey". Time. Retrieved May 22, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  29. 29.0 29.1 Batura, Paul (May 19, 2009). Good Day! The Paul Harvey Story. Regnery Publishing. pp. 178–185. ISBN 978-1-59698-101-0.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  30. Oliver, Ansel (5 March 2009). "American reado legend Harvey's death ends unique era of radio news". Adventist News Network-Seventh-Day Adventist Church. Retrieved 14 August 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  31. The Religious Affiliation of Radio Broadcaster Paul Harvey at
  32. SDALink Paul Harvey Tribute.
  33. Robert D. Mcfadden, "Paul Harvey, Homespun Radio Voice of Middle America, Is Dead at 90," New York Times March 2, 2009
  34. Also Cited in Garance Franke-Ruta, "Paul Harvey's 1978 'So God Made a Farmer' Speech," The Atlantic Feb 3, 2013
  35. 2005 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients.
  36. "Paul White Award". Radio Television Digital News Association. Retrieved 2014-05-27.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  37. Paul Harvey on the Lincoln Academy site, 1987
  38. Owens, Ron (2000). Oklahoma Heroes: The Oklahoma Peace Officers Memorial. Turner Publishing Company. pp. 41–42. ISBN 1-56311-571-9. Retrieved 2008-05-06.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  39. 39.0 39.1 39.2 "Paul Harvey's Wife Dies at Age 92". ABC News. 3 May 2008. Retrieved 6 August 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  40. Wendy, Katie (14 June 2009). "Good Day! The Paul Harvey Story". Washington Times. Retrieved 6 August 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  41. 41.0 41.1 "Lynne 'Angel' Harvey Dies At 92". Radio Ink. 5 May 2008. Retrieved 6 August 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  42. "Wife of broadcaster Paul Harvey dies". Daily Herald. 4 May 2008. Retrieved 6 August 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  43. "Death Notice: Lynne Harvey". Chicago Tribune. 4 May 2008. Retrieved 6 August 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  44. "Paul Harvey Obituary". New York Times. Mar 6, 2009. Retrieved September 24, 2014. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  45. "Statement from ABC Radio Networks on the passing of Paul Harvey". February 28, 2009. Retrieved March 1, 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  46. "Statement by Former President George W. Bush on the Death of Paul Harvey". February 28, 2009. Retrieved March 1, 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  47. "Gross, Limerick to Replace Paul Harvey on ABC Radio". News Radio Online. March 4, 2009. Retrieved March 5, 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  48. Hinckley, David (2009-03-22). "On the radio: How ABC will replace 'Rest' of Paul Harvey spots". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2011-03-03.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Media offices
Preceded by
Show Established
Host of News and Comment (mornings)
Succeeded by
Paul Harvey, Jr.