Monday, March 2, 2009

Loss of a Great Icon

I am saddened by the passing of one of the great icons in the radio industry. Paul Harvey has died at the age of 90, but leaves behind a legacy America appreciates, and a style it could use more of today. I’ll sum up my feelings with a memory, growing up as a boy in Springfield, Illinois.

‘Paul Harvey News’ was, by far, the most interesting thing on the radio in this small town. His way of storytelling was never condescending or filled with any kind of vitriol. It was as if a neighbor was telling a story which had a point that you would eventually get…and chuckle a bit to yourself at the irony.

And, of course, there was ‘The Rest of the Story’. You’d get one half early and the rest a little later. It was absolutely cannot miss radio.

The most compelling thing about the man’s style was the read his own commercial copy, and tailored it to local markets. Ours was Bunn Coffee Makers and Bish Funeral Home. It was like the guy knew the owners on a first name basis, had just had a cup of coffee and then attended a service at the home for someone you knew. I doubt if he’d ever been to either one of the joints, but he made the listener feel as though he did. I’m sure folks in Iowa or Wyoming or Arizona feel the same way.

My thanks to Mr. Harvey for his contributions, his humor and the ability to make me feel a little smarter and a little more ahead of the game each time I listened. God bless his soul and his family.