Paul Harvey show marks 25 years
By Kristina Buchthal
CHICAGO On the 25th anniversary of his popular radio series, broadcaster Paul Harvey wasn't behind the microphone to tell "The Rest of the Story."
He was in bed.
The man with one of the nation's most familiar voices is recovering from laryngitis, but he hopes to hit the airwaves again tomorrow.
"He doesn't like to take off work at all," said Harvey's son, Paul Harvey Jr., who writes scripts for the show and does the broadcasts in his father's absence. "He feels completely well otherwise, and yet there's this laryngitis. All you can do is rest."
Resting his voice is an unusual thing for a man who has been broadcasting for more than six decades. Now 82, Harvey is the most listened-to man in the history of the media, said Bruce DuMont, president of the Museum of Broadcast Communications and the Radio Hall of Fame in Chicago.
"The Rest of the Story" is broadcast at 3:30 p.m. six days a week from the ABC News studios in Chicago. In the five-minute show, Harvey gives intricate details about a historic event, person or location, waiting for the end to reveal their identity.
Each show begins with Harvey saying "Hello, Americans. You know what the news is. In a minute, you're going to hear the rest of the story." He ends the show with his trademark, "Good Day" signoff.
Along with the "Rest of the Story," Harvey broadcasts "Paul Harvey News and Comment" every weekday morning and afternoon on 1,200 radio stations throughout the country.
"No one has spoken to more people than Paul Harvey,'"DuMont said. "He's probably the most recognized voice in the country."
Harvey writes all his own scripts for the "News and Comment" shows. He wakes up every weekday at 3:30 a.m., eats a bowl of oatmeal, reads newswires and talks with editors around the country about the day's events.
When Harvey turned his saying "the rest of the story" into its own show in 1976, he hired Paul Jr. to research and write the scripts. The duo has worked together on the series ever since. Harvey's wife, Lynne "Angel" Harvey, has been the executive producer for the entire run.
Paul Harvey Jr. said he had to quickly learn his father's broadcast and literary style to write scripts as listener-friendly as his father's.
"I have a campfire in my mind when I'm writing. That's the setting that seems to enable 'The Rest of the Story' best," the younger Harvey said.
Fans and radio experts say it is Harvey's light humor, staccato style, prose and pauses that draw listeners to the daily broadcast. Words and catch phrases that Harvey coined "Reaganomics," and "guesstimate" have become part of American language.
"While he maintains the basic tenets of journalism objectivity, fairness, accuracy his style allows him to tell the stories in plain Midwestern English," said Chris Berry, vice president of radio for ABC News in New York.
And Harvey pioneered human interest journalism, in-depth stories about real people, Harvey Jr. said.
"The rest of the industry thought the radio was just a juke box and a news box," Harvey Jr. said. "That's one thing I'm proud of, we've brought something new to radio."