1983 Horatio Alger Award Winner
"Every pessimist was wrong-tomorrow always has been better than today."
Paul Harvey was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1918. His father, a policeman, was killed during a shoot-out when Harvey was just three. His mother used the insurance money she received to expand and subdivide their modest home, renting the resulting two apartments and a spare room to support herself and her two children.
As a young boy, Harvey made radio sets-never imagining the eventual career he would have on nationwide radio. He also mowed lawns and shoveled snow to help the family make ends meet. He says of those years, "We were pinched hard in the Depression years, but never painfully pinched." While still in high school, Harvey was hired as an occasional announcer at KVOO Radio in Tulsa, while at the same time studying at the University of Tulsa. He became an announcer and then program director at KVOO before being hired as station manager at KFBI in Abilene, Kansas. That led to more radio work in Oklahoma City, then on to St. Louis as a roving report for KXOK, and then director of news and information for WKZO in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
In 1944, he went to Chicago to work for an NBC affiliate, serving as a substitute for other newscasters. Soon, he became popular enough to have his own show. He went coast-to-coast with ABC in 1951 and has been with the network ever since.
Paul Harvey is the most listened-to radio personality in America. His broadcasts reach more than 20 million loyal listeners who tune in every week to hear his unique blend of news and views. Paul Harvey News is now the world's largest communications conglomerate with 1,300 radio stations, an additional 400 stations on the American Forces Radio Network, 100 television stations, and 300 newspapers. His broadcasts and newspaper columns have been reprinted in the Congressional Record more than those of any other commentator.
He has been named Commentator of the Year, Salesman of the Year, Person, Father and American of the Year. He was on the Gallup Poll list of Americas most admired men, and has been elected to the National Association of Broadcasters Radio Hall of Fame and Oklahoma Hall of Fame. He is also a five-time recipient of the Marconi Award for Network Personality of the Year.
Harvey attributes his popularity to his "identification with the conservative middle American audience." When asked about what has guided his life all these years, he remembers an elementary school teacher, Miss Harp, who told him: "Paul, never feel resentment in your heart for those who have more than you. Just do all you can as long as you live to preserve this last wonderful land in which any man willing to stay on his toes can reach for the stars."* Deceased