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Paul Harvey – my inspiration

When I was just a wee tot, I remember hearing Paul Harvey on the radio presenting “the neewwws.”

I recall being sort of mesmerized by his voice, the cadence of his speech, the repetition of keywords and, yes, the content of his broadcast.

I don’t know if I decided right there and then to become a neewwwsman like Paul Harvey. But I’m sure his neewwwscasts influenced the direction of my life – my career choice.

Later, when I became a professional neewwwsman, I thought about what made Paul Harvey so special, what gave him the universal appeal. It was clear to me it wasn’t just the voice, the cadence of his speech and the repetition of keywords. It was much more than the style – which was artistic, original, creative and captivating. It was mostly the content – his news judgment.

Paul Harvey made his living sorting out the news for America – giving us a glimpse of what was really important and entertaining. Long before Matt Drudge entered the scene with the Internet, Paul Harvey was giving us headlines we might not see in our local newspapers or hear on the network TV news.

And all during my many years running daily newspapers, I would often instruct my editors what I expected from them – Paul Harvey-style news judgment.

Paul Harvey, who passed away last week, was a giant in broadcasting. But, more than that, he was a giant in journalism. He was a giant in the news business.

Yes, he could tell a great story, as in “the rest of the story.” But what I loved most about him was his ability to find those great little gems of news – stories that escaped the attention of so many of his colleagues.

I didn’t really know Paul Harvey, but I felt like I did.

He was a part of my life for as long as I could remember.

Even though we never met, he was gracious to me and frequently acknowledged my work. One of my great thrills in life was hearing him promote my book, “Taking America Back,” to his massive listening as a great Christmas gift in 2003.

Hear Paul Harvey pitching “Taking America Back”

I was honored and privileged to be able to add that endorsement in the paperback edition.

I wish I had a chance to meet Paul Harvey before he died. I wish I had an opportunity to shake his hand. I wish I got to tell him how much he meant to me. But I guess saying it late is better than never.

Paul Harvey was a genius. He will be missed by millions who listened to him. He will be missed by me. And what he brought to America in terms of daily wit and wisdom will be missed by the entire country – whether they know it or not.

Paul Harvey was an original – an icon, a unique personality and talent. He was bigger than life. No one who knew him had a bad word to say about him.

That’s quite an epitaph. I know it’s one I won’t live up to!

Nevertheless, I think I might still get the opportunity to meet Paul Harvey. I’m pretty confident I’ll get an opportunity to shake his hand. I’m more than hopeful I might still get to tell him how much he meant to me.

Of course, it won’t be on earth. It won’t be on this mortal plane. It won’t be at some terrestrial radio network. But I have a pretty good feeling the heavenly radio news network just found some new programming – and it’s going to have a longer run than it did on the first time around.