There are few broadcasters (and those whose faces and voices have been part of the trade) who I can say I've seen and heard regularly throughout my lifetime.
Dick Clark, Bob Barker, Walter Cronkite, Mary Tyler Moore and the late David Brinkley are examples.
Another is Paul Harvey.
I first heard his "News and Commentary" program when I was a youngster living in Northern New York State. The only radio station in the small town of Massena, New York with network affiliation was an ABC station, and aired his broadcasts three times a day.
Shortly after I returned to the Cleveland area in 1969, one of the stations there began an association with ABC, and began airing Paul Harvey as well. And when I went to Ohio University, I regularly listened to a Columbus station which carried his broadcasts for a long time (until just this past month, in fact).
It wasn't his politics that I admired. And I stopped short of calling him a newscaster, since he read commercials on his program (CBS's Charles Osgood does the same on his radio program, "The Osgood File"). It was that he was one terrific broadcaster.
Of all of his broadcasts, I always listened to his morning program at the end of the week, which he began by saying :
"Good Morning, Americans....IT'S FRIDAY!"
The best summation I've seen of his skills was from Larry King, in his 1990 book, Tell Me More:
"I don't agree much with his politics," King said, "but I'd hire him in a minute. He's a classic radio personality...I cannot turn him off. If I've got Paul Harvey on the radio, he stays on."
Max Harris, our former chief videographer, would agree with that.
If Max was out on a story, regardless of what station was on the radio at the time, the station would be switched whenever Paul Harvey came on. And that used to be several times a day, on various stations.
Recently, those instances have dwindled. Since Harvey was absent more frequently in the past year, several stations around the country (including Cincinnati and the previously-mentioned Columbus) stopped carrying his program. As of last week, the only station which could be picked up in this area which still carried Harvey's programs was WMOA in Marietta.
ABC said Saturday night it will still broadcast a "News and Commentary" program, presumably hosted by some of Harvey's recent substitutes. And it says his The Rest of The Story program, which actually has been written and occasionally broadcast by Paul Harvey, Junior, will continue.
But as Robert Thompson, the much-quoted professor at Syracuse University, said Saturday night, there will never be another Paul Harvey.