“Hello, Americans. This is Paul Harvey. Stand by for . . . news!”
His voice was arguably the most recognized in the history of radio. His broadcasting career lasted over three quarters of a century, from his days as a high-school intern at KVOO in his native Tulsa, Oklahoma, until 2009. Yet few of the scores of millions who listened to him for decades ever heard his real voice. The slight twang and flatness of his broadcast voice were vintage Oklahoma, but in person and in television and radio interviews, Paul Harvey let his high, almost nasal, on-air voice drop down into its normal mellifluous baritone.
Many a later announcer would have given his left hand to come by the deep registers of Harvey’s conversational voice naturally, but Harvey was a product of early AM radio, and a broadcast voice in an upper register stood a better chance of cutting through the frequent static. By the time technology cleared up the airwaves, Harvey’s peculiar intonation was as much a part of his persona as was his use of his middle name as his last.
Paul Harvey Aurandt was born in Tulsa on September 4, 1918, and he died in Phoenix, Arizona, on February 28 of this year. But most of his life in radio was spent in Chicago, where he moved in June 1944 at the insistence of his wife, Lynne. A St. Louis socialite who was close to three years older than her husband, “Angel”...