Famed U.S. broadcaster Paul Harvey dies at age 90

Sat Feb 28, 2009 11:42pm EST
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CHICAGO (Reuters) - Paul Harvey, who captivated millions of radio listeners daily with his staccato delivery, firmly set opinions and old-fashioned outlook, died on Saturday at the age of 90, ABC News said.

Harvey died at a hospital near his winter home in Phoenix, the network said. No cause of death was immediately available.

He was on the air for more than 60 years, becoming a fixture across the United States in 1951 when he joined ABC Radio.

Working out of Chicago, Harvey started his show each day by barking, "Hello, Americans, this is Paul Harvey! Stand by for news!" and would sign off with a forceful "Paul Harvey ... good day!" In between, he flung out a variety of trademark phrases that listeners came to expect like, "Stay tuned for the rest of the story" and "May I have your undivided for just a moment."

Harvey's twice-daily radio broadcasts at one time reached an estimated 22 million listeners who tuned in for his observations, homespun wisdom and opinions on the news.

"I don't think of myself as a profound journalist," he told an interviewer. "I think of myself as a professional parade watcher who can't wait to get out of bed every morning and rush down to the teletypes and pan for gold."

Harvey also was a marketing powerhouse, interspersing his broadcasts with commercials he narrated. He said he agreed to plug only products he used himself, which meant turning down 10 sponsors for every one he endorsed.

Products that met Harvey's expectations could almost always count on a surge in sales after he read their commercials.

In 2006, Forbes.com quoted an ABC executive as saying Harvey was bringing in more than 10 percent of the network's $300 million in advertising billings. The network was so pleased with Harvey's work that he was given a 10-year, $100 million contract in 2000.   Continued...

<p>Then-President George W. Bush (R) awards his Presidential Medal of Freedom to long-term radio commentator Paul Harvey as fellow awardees, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan (L) and actor Andy Griffith (2nd L) look on at a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington in this November 9, 2005 file photo. Harvey died on February 28, 2009, ABC Radio Networks announced. REUTERS/Jason Reed/Files</p>