In fact, I can say with 100% absurdness that Paul Harvey was one of two reasons I EVER listen to AM radio. The other being traffic updates when driving to and from work.
Harvey wasn't just a radio personality, he was a radio legend. He told some great stories and had a way of packing a ton of really interesting information into a few short minutes each day.
He died at age 90 this past weekend and I couldn't let the week slip by without a quick mention of him here on the DIFF blog. That would be very negligent of me, to say the least.
Here's a little bit about Harvey from Entertainment Weekly:
Legendary radio commentator Paul Harvey died today at a hospital in Phoenix. He was 90. Known for his distinct staccato delivery, dramatic pauses, and folksy intonations, Harvey's broadcasts were heard on over 1,200 radio stations and 400 Armed Forces networks and his commentary appeared in 300 newspapers, according to his website.
He had been hosting his radio shows on a part-time basis for most of the past year, during which he suffered various illnesses as well as the death of his wife Lynne "Angel" Harvey. Paul Harvey's seven-decade broadcasting career includes more than 50 years working for ABC Radio.
"Even after the passing of his loving wife Angel in May 2008, Paul would not slip quietly into retirement as he continued to take the microphone and reach out to his audience," ABC Radio Networks president Jim Robinson said via a statement. "We will miss our dear friend tremendously and are grateful for the many years we were so fortunate to have known him."
I remember one time, about 20 years ago, I was returning from a weekend of skiing in northern Michigan with a few friends. On the way home, we dropped off a friend at MSU and continued back to Detroit on I-96. Unfortunately we were caught in the middle of HUGE winter storm and the normally hour to hour and half drive turned into a 4 hour nightmare.
We decided to give into the storm and stopped at Mt. Brighton to ski the storm (seemed a bit better than driving the storm – given the fact that we witnessed probably 30 cars and trucks in ditches on the side of the freeway). Unfortunately we only had enough money left for one lift ticket, so three of us shared the ticket taking turns, while the other two sat in the chalet and listened to the radio.
That's when I heard my favorite Paul Harvey story ever. Harvey told of a group of men in Australia on trial for murder. Apparantly, the group were the victim of a shipwreck in open water in the South Pacific and though they managed to escape to a life raft, they floated for weeks without being rescued. They did their best to drink rainwater and eat fish, even catching a sea turtle. After desperation set in, they realized none of them might survive and they decided to pick straws. The one with the short straw would be sacrificed so the others might survive with ever dwindling resources. They did this and one of them was killed. The next day they were rescued and found themselves facing murder charges.
The bizarre point of Harvey's story was that the EXACT same senario had been the subject of a story written almost 100 years earlier. The "fictional" story told of a group of men shipwrecked in open seas near Australia who floated on a lift boat, caught a sea turtle, picked straws and one was killed. The number of men was even the same in the 100 year old novel and the modern day tragically true version.
I love a good story and Paul Harvey always had one. Interestingly enough, he wasn't from my generation or even my parent's generation. Definitely more from my grandparent's generation, yet always relevant. That was Paul Harvey.
I'll miss his stories. And the rest of the story.