Monday, March 02, 2009

Good Night... and Good Bye.

Paul Harvey died this weekend.

Some of you may be wondering "Who the hell is Paul Harvey, and why should I care?" If that's the case, I feel bad for you because you missed out on a true legend of broadcasting.

If you're any kind of student of broadcasting, you would know that in the world of radio commentary, Paul Harvey was "The Man". His "News and Comments" and "The Rest of the Story" programs aired daily across the U.S., at one time on over 1200 radio stations. He won just about every major broadcasting award imaginable, including FOUR Marconi awards. If you're wondering what a Marconi Award is, consider it the "Oscar" for radio broadcasting.

But it wasn't the awards that made him so special. It was how he distinguished himself. He wasn't afraid to express his opinions (he was conservative) and he took positions that some people would object to. But he never showed rancor or contempt for the other side. He never displayed any self-serving snarkiness, or even raised his voice. Can such "professionals" as Limbaugh, O'Reilly, Schultz, and Franken claim to do the same?

The man was a professional. He didn't entertain by lowering himself to toilet humor or self-depreciating comments on the size of his anatomy. He didn't get cheap laughs by having listenters hold their "Wee for a Wii". He entertained by being honest... by making people think, laugh, cry, and even sometimes get mad.

He was a professional... in other words, a dinosaur. With the exception of Charles Osgood... there really aren't any commentators that are along the lines of Paul Harvey, at least none that are self-serving pompous windbags.

I'd like to teach a radio course, and do nothing but play "News and Comments" and "The Rest of the Story." Then I'd say... "This is what a professional sounds like. You have your work cut out for you."

Paul Harvey... Good Night... and Good Bye.