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Voice of ABC Radio was a heartland icon


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POSTED: Sunday, March 01, 2009

CHICAGO » Paul Harvey, a familiar radio voice for six decades who used long pauses to punctuate his delivery of news and observations, died yesterday in Phoenix. He was 90.

Harvey's death was announced in a statement by ABC Radio Networks where his “;News and Comment”; was a fixture aired from coast to coast since 1951. He had impressed network executives with high ratings in Chicago, where he'd been a newscaster at ABC affiliate WENR-AM since 1944.

Harvey died in a Phoenix area hospital with his family by his side, said Louis Adams, a spokesman for ABC Radio Networks. The broadcaster lived in Chicago during the summer and moved his production to Arizona in the winter months.

“;My father and mother created from thin air what one day became radio and television news,”; son Paul Harvey Jr. said in a statement on his father's Web site. “;So in the past year, an industry has lost its godparents and today millions have lost a friend.”;

Harvey's wife, Lynne, who produced his shows, died in May.

Known for his resonant voice and trademark delivery of “;The Rest of the Story,”; Harvey had been heard nationally since 1951, when he began his “;News and Comment”; for ABC Radio Networks.

He became a heartland icon, delivering news and commentary with a distinctive Midwestern flavor. “;Stand by for news!”; he told his listeners. He was credited with inventing or popularizing terms such as “;skyjacker,”; “;Reaganomics”; and “;guesstimate.”;

Paul Harvey Aurandt was born Sept. 4, 1918, to Harry Harrison and Anna Dagmar (Christensen) Aurandt in Tulsa, Okla. His father, a police officer, was killed when Harvey was three.

Harvey's career was launched in 1933 when a speech teacher at Tulsa's Central High School recognized his potential.

After marriage, Harvey worked as a reporter in Hawaii and enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps after Pearl Harbor.