Obituary: Harvey, broadcast pioneer, WUSTL benefactor, 90

Paul Harvey, whose news reports and human-interest stories captivated American listeners for decades, died Feb. 28, 2009, at the Mayo Clinic Hospital near his winter home in Arizona. He was 90.

Harvey, and his wife, Lynne “Angel” Cooper Harvey, who died May 3, 2008, were longtime, generous supporters of Washington University. Among their most recent contributions was a gift in 2008 to name the Angel and Paul Harvey Media Center in the Danforth University Center.

Born in 1918 in Tulsa, Okla., Harvey began working at KVOO-AM as a high-school student and became an announcer and program director there while attending the University of Tulsa. After college, he worked in Kansas, Oklahoma and St. Louis. He and his wife met at St. Louis radio station KXOK-AM, where Paul was a young reporter and Angel was hired to develop a program on education. Born and raised in St. Louis, Angel — as she was universally known — earned both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in English in Arts & Sciences from Washington University. Paul proposed to Angel on their first date, and they married in 1940.

In 1944, the Harveys moved to Chicago and soon launched “Paul Harvey News” on ABC affiliate WENR-AM. With Angel as producer, the program quickly became the most listened-to newscast in Chicago and helped pioneer the 10 p.m. newscast, which soon became a national standard.

In 1951, the ABC Radio Networks began broadcasting “Paul Harvey News and Comment” on stations coast-to-coast and, in 1976, expanded “The Rest of the Story” — a long-running feature on “News and Comment” — into its own broadcast. Both shows would reach an estimated 25 million listeners on more than 1,200 radio stations as well as 400 Armed Forces Network stations around the world.

With millions of listeners worldwide and a career that spans nearly 75 years, Harvey was one of the most recognizable voices on radio. Harvey’s numerous honors include an unprecedented five Marconi Radio Awards — the industry’s highest honor.

He was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1990. In 2005, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s most prestigious civilian honor.

Both Angel and Paul received honorary degrees from Washington University in 1998 and 2007, respectively.

The Harvey legacy will live on at Washington University through the Angel and Paul Harvey Media Center, the Lynne Cooper Harvey Distinguished Chair in English, and the Lynne Cooper Harvey Scholarships and Fellowships in American Culture Studies.