Legacy Story

Long before John Stewart, Paul Harvey was America’s Newscaster. And he did it with a perspective and personality. It doesn’t seem fair to isolate one or two aspects of his personality as his legacy. He impacted multiple generations of broadcasters and more than 24 million listeners per week from 1944 to 2008. 65 years of excellence on the radio.

Harvey was a brilliant storyteller, using news as the source of his content. Harvey delivered current information and commentary in a unique style that reflected traditional values and a sense of wholesome goodness in every broadcast.

He informed his audience with incredible artistry and timing in the stories he told. The news never sounded like news. He sounded like a friend telling you what was happening in the world with a strong point of view. His stories were punctuated with a powerful choice of words and vocal inflection that communicated emotion and feeling.

As part of the ABC Radio Network, Harvey delivered three programs per day:

  • Short 5-minute news and commentary each morning.
  • Longer-form 15-minute news and commentary around midday.
  • His signature “Rest Of The Story” each afternoon.

Diverse Stories

Paul Harvey was the last and one of the greatest of the “news and comment” broadcasters His honesty and integrity were constant. Listen to the Rest Of The Story and admire how he leads listeners to the very end, painting a picture of small-town America. This was Paul Harvey at his best.

Though he specialized in lifestyle and human interest news, he was just as comfortable and effective in talking about some of the most difficult stories in history.

Listen to how he told the story of JFK’s assassination on the day of the President’s death. Personalities should study this audio for clues on how to deal with tragedy today. He was composed, compassionate, and colorful.

Then listen to his News and Comments sample from earlier that month, just a few days before Kennedy was killed. Notice how he transitioned seamlessly from one type of story (hard news) to another (humorous) to another (good news). Pay particular attention to his commentary about Republicans vs. Democrats and Conservatives vs. Liberals. His observation of a divided country on a collision course is just as relevant and insightful today, 50 years later.

Finally, check out the way he weaved a picture into a spiritual message in his classic “If I Were The Devil”. It’s a pointed, direct message warning the country of what he considered a troubling moral decline in the United States. Whether you agree or disagree with his position, the storytelling is powerful.


Most personalities have discovered the value of endorsements. But if you want a master class in how to do it right, study how Harvey did it. He segues from content into commerce seamlessly, placing as much time and effort into delivering a pitch for his clients as he does in entertaining the audience.

Sometimes it would take a minute to realize that Harvey’s live-read of an ad had begun. That’s how persuasive his voice could be. Part of his secret is that he believed in everything he said on the show. He refused to read a commercial for any product he didn’t use. He protected the integrity of his brand in every aspect of his career. As a result, his endorsements were believable and carried great weight with his audience.


Great benchmarks are embedded into performances, becoming earworms that the personality becomes known for. Harvey had several:

  • When finishing a page of copy, he read the next page number. (“Page two!”).
  • “Goodbye” Catchphrases: “Paul Harvey… good day!” and “And now you know… the rest of the story!”

Harvey was born in 1918. He passed away in 2009 at the age of 91. Paul Harvey…Good Day.


Tracy Johnson: 

Paul Harvey left a lifetime of lessons for personalities, including the way he obviously prepared his material, delivered it with confidence, and added a point of vifew without cramming it down the listeners’ throats. There may never be another like him, but his legacy should impact every personality that wants to be a better storyteller on the radio.

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