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Making Waves

By Ross Kentner

I wonder how many listening today remember the names Jim Hunter and John Collingwood Reid? They were two of the news voices I grew up listening to on Toronto radio. Of course you remember Pierre Berton and Gordon Sinclair. Two icons of Canadian radio. How about Paul Harvey? Few true fans of radio would fail to recognize the name that went with one of the most distinguished voices of the broadcasting world.

Paul Harvey has been on national radio since 1951 when he began his "News and Comment" for the ABC Radio Network. Can you believe that in 2000, at the tender age of 82, he signed a new 10-year contract with ABC?

Harvey started his day at 3:30 every morning with oatmeal porridge, then combed the news wires and spoke to editors across the nation looking for unique stories of life in America. He worked from an office in downtown Chicago near Lake Michigan. He is said to have either invented or at least brought into common usage such words as "skyjacker," "Reaganomics" and "guesstimate!"

In 2005, Harvey was one of 14 people to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Both he and his wife Lynne, his producer for many years, were members of the Radio Hall of Fame. At the zenith of his career, Paul Harvey reached 24-million listeners on 12-hundred radio stations. His syndicated column appeared in 300 newspapers.

In 1976 Harvey launched a trademark innovation+?G??-?radio biographies that introduced somebody when they were really a nobody. His son Paul Jr. used a convoluted writing style that eventually revealed the person+?G??G??s achievements, all the while concealing their identity. After a commercial break Paul Harvey returned with a final clue adding:

Audio Clip: "And now you know+?G??-?The Rest of the Story."

Paul Harvey died last Saturday at the age of 90, still active, still influential+?G??-?a tremendous example for this industry and for everyone who would rather work than anything else.

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