Kelly Smith, Published March 02 2009
Radio pioneer Paul Harvey leaves his mark
“I had a helluva deal,” Bossart laughed about his summer-long stint at Harvey’s Chicago station. “It was just pretty special I thought for a kid from Fargo, North Dakota, to be working with him.”
News of the talk-radio pioneer’s death at the age of 90 struck the nation Saturday. But critics and fans alike acknowledge Harvey will leave his mark on history books.
Kevin Weaver, the general manager of WDAY Radio, said Harvey has been broadcast on the local ABC affiliate for the past 30 years until recently.
“I’m assuming it will continue with Paul Harvey Jr.,” Weaver said Sunday.
Weaver said WDAY listeners can hear Paul Harvey Jr. at 7:45 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. weekdays on 970 AM.
“He had a wonderful career,” said Al Aamodt of WDAY Radio, whose “Noon Day” show concludes with Harvey. “Whether you liked what he was saying or not, I think most people waited around for that signature right at the end.”
Bossart, who later inspired Aamodt, was in awe of Harvey, who he described as disciplined and down-to-earth.
“He was a marvelous writer,” the 75-year-old said from his Fargo home Sunday. “Once I started working with him – that was an inspiration for me for sure.”
Bossart was one of only a couple graduate students from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism who got to work for five months out of Harvey’s Chicago ABC affiliate during the summer of 1957.
There, he wrote copy for local Chicago stations – even once writing a one-minute network piece that aired nationwide. A couple times, Bossart even got to look over some of Harvey’s writing before it aired.
The job, which paid Bossart $500 a month, also gave him a reputable jumping spot to what became an established career. Of course, it helped having Harvey’s name as a reference on resumes.
“That’s not a bad reference to have,” Bossart said. “It was a terrific deal.”
And he never stopped listening to Paul Harvey.
“I listened to him whenever I could because he had such a unique style,” Bossart said of Harvey’s staccato writing style. “I think the nation has lost a fabulous broadcaster.”
Readers can reach Forum reporter Kelly Smith at (701) 241-5515