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HARVEY, PAUL (1918- )

Known as one of the most widely followed radio and television news commentators, Paul Harvey showed an interest in radio during childhood and in high school was a champion orator. He was born Paul Harvey Aurandt on September 4, 1918, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. His father, Harry Harrison Aurandt, who was secretary to the Tulsa Police Commissioner and purchasing agent for the Tulsa Police and Fire Departments, was killed by criminals encountered while he and a police detective were hunting. His mother, Anna Dagmar Christiansen Aurandt, raised Paul Harvey and his sister alone. Harvey married Lynne Cooper on June 4, 1940; they have one son, Paul Aurandt, Jr.

Harvey's English teacher insisted that he pursue a career in broadcasting. When he was fourteen she took him to KVOO radio, where he was given the opportunity to fill in at the microphone, doing announcements and reading the news wire as a staff announcer. He continued to work in the broadcasting field as station manager of KFBI radio in Salina, Kansas, as a newscaster at KOMA radio in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and as the news and special events director at KXOX radio in St. Louis, Missouri. From 1941 to 1943 Harvey worked as program director at WKZO radio in Kalamazoo, Michigan, while also serving as the Office of War Information's news director for Michigan and Indiana. In 1943 he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps, but he received a medical discharge in 1944. He moved to Chicago, Illinois, shortened his name to Paul Harvey, and began doing daily news commentaries on local station WENR radio. Soon, his broadcasts were topping the ratings in the greater Chicago area.

As a news analyst, author, and columnist, Paul Harvey won recognition as "one of the best-known and most influential personalities in the history of American radio" and the last of the wartime generation of radio commentators. "Paul Harvey News & Comments" and "The Rest of the Story" aired daily on sixteen hundred radio stations worldwide and had more than eighteen million listeners weekly.

Harvey has received awards from the Disabled American Veterans, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, and the Freedom Foundation. He has been inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame (1955), was named Commentator of the Year in 1962 by Radio/TV Daily, and in 1979 was inducted to the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame. In 2005 Pres. George W. Bush presented him the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Harvey's books include Autumn of Liberty, Remember These Things, You Said It, Paul Harvey, and Our Lives, Our Fortunes, Our Sacred Honor.

In spring 2002 Harvey celebrated his fiftieth year on ABC news radio. In fall 2000 he signed a ten-year, $100 million contract with the network. With no plans for retirement, he will be ninety-two years old when his contract with ABC expires.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: Paul Aurandt, More of Paul Harvey's The Rest of the Story, comp. and ed. Lynn Harvey (New York: William Morrow and Co., 1980). Paul Aurandt, Paul Harvey's The Rest of the Story, comp. and ed. Lynn Harvey (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday and Co., 1977). "Paul Harvey," Vertical File, Oklahoma Room, Oklahoma Department of Libraries, Oklahoma City. "Paul Harvey," Vertical File, Research Division, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma City. Frances C. Locher, ed., Contemporary Authors, Vol. 102 (Detroit, Mich.: Gale Research Co., 1981). Ron Owens, Oklahoma Heroes: The Oklahoma Peace Officers Memorial (Paducah, Ky.: Turner Publishing Co., 2000).

Leah Pratt

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